Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage.  Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

Chris is a native of rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother's house, and grew up in a 230-year-old log cabin in the woods. Chris traces his interest in journalism to his childhood, when his parents threatened to take away his newspaper if he didn’t do his chores.

Three of the candidates for Oregon Secretary of State made their case to voters in Eugene Friday. Democrat Brad Avakian, Republican Dennis Richardson and Alan Zundel of the Pacific Green Party spoke before the Eugene City Club.

If a group that rallied at the state capitol in Salem Thursday has its way, Oregon lawmakers will take up two major pieces of legislation designed to improve rights for renters next year.

Oregon college campuses should have better access to sworn police officers and develop active shooter training programs for all students and employees. Those are some of the recommendations in a draft report issued Thursday by a work group convened by the Oregon governor's office.

Women and girls in Oregon are more likely to be survivors of sexual violence, and have the highest incidence of reported depression in the country, according to a report released Wednesday on the status of women in the state.

According to a new report from a state task force, the ratio of students to school nurses has more than doubled in the past five years in Oregon.

Officials with the Oregon Department of Human Services are telling people who rely on its services to prepare for a potential round of budget cuts next year. Agency leaders Thursday outlined possible cost-cutting scenarios.

Polls are showing that Oregon voters aren't rallying around either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. While Clinton is expected to win the state, her campaign is struggling to attract Democrats who voted for Bernie Sanders in the May primary.

Steady job growth means Oregon's economy will continue to do well in the short term. But storm clouds are on the horizon. That was the prediction Wednesday from state economists.

Voter registration is surging in Oregon. The Secretary of State's office said Tuesday that nearly 300,000 new voters have been added over the past year. But the uptick isn't due to interest in the presidential election.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made another big-money contribution to an Oregon candidate. The recipient this time is Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

More than a third of the credits issued under a tax credit program for renewable energy companies in Oregon went to problematic projects. That's according to an independent analysis issued Thursday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

The Oregon Health Authority has a lot on its plate. It arranges medical care for low income people, operates the state's mental hospitals, and even oversees the medical marijuana programs.

Oregon's child welfare system will have a new leader in November. The Oregon Department of Human Services Wednesday announced the results of a nationwide job search.

Some drinking fountains have been turned off at the Oregon capitol building after tests showed an unsafe level of lead in the water. Officials have ordered more tests to determine the source of the lead.

M.O.Stevens via Wikimedia

The landmark welfare reform bill is 20 years old this month. It was signed into law by Bill Clinton and overhauled the way the government distributed cash assistance. The reforms gave states a lot of flexibility in handing out money. Some states have been more successful than others when it comes to helping the poor. Chris Lehman of the Northwest News Network reports that Oregon is one of the places that's done the best job.

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A series of intense wildfire seasons has taken a toll on the Oregon Department of Forestry. That's according to an audit released Tuesday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

Even though Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, you can't legally buy the stuff in more than 100 Oregon communities. That's because some city and county governments have banned recreational marijuana businesses.

But voters in nearly half of those places will have the chance to overturn those bans this November.

Delegates from Oregon and Washington officially cast their votes for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton Tuesday at the party's national convention in Philadelphia. Oregon's votes were cast by one of the state's two Democratic U.S. Senators, Jeff Merkley.

Oregonians will vote this fall on whether to fully fund an outdoor education program for the state's fifth and sixth graders. An initiative that would do that qualified for the Oregon ballot Friday.

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