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.

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.

The head of Oregon's Elections Division abruptly stepped down this week, just three months before voting begins in this fall's election. Jim Williams wrote in a resignation letter dated July 19, “It is with a heavy heart and regret that I hereby offer my resignation.”

Delegates from Oregon and Washington officially cast their votes for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Now that an initiative that aims to increase Oregon's high school graduation rate has qualified for the ballot, backers are rolling out details of their campaign.

Oregonians will vote on an initiative that aims to increase the state's high school graduation rate. The Oregon Secretary of State's office announced Thursday that supporters of IP 65 had gathered enough valid signatures for the measure to appear on the November ballot.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a subpoena that would have given the FBI access to personal emails sent by former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. A three-judge panel ruled Wednesday that the subpoena was "unreasonably overbroad."

Some Oregon corporations will likely change their structure and behavior to lessen the impact of a tax hike headed for the November ballot. That's according to a report from revenue analysts at the Oregon Legislature.

Friday was the deadline to turn in signatures for initiative campaigns hoping to place a measure on the November ballot in Oregon. Statutory initiatives need 88,184 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Constitutional initiatives require 117,578 valid signatures.

Oregon voters may get the chance to ban the sale of items made from certain wildlife species this November. Backers of an initiative that would do just that submitted signatures Thursday in an attempt to get their measure on the November ballot.

Tens of thousands of Oregonians will get a raise Friday when the state's minimum wage goes up for the first time in 18 months.

 Oregon lawmakers will try once again next year to round up support for a major transportation funding package. Their most recent attempt got sidelined amid a dispute over a separate bill. As part of the effort to craft a new next version, a legislative committee is touring the state to try to figure out what to include.

A newly released report from the left-leaning Oregon Center for Public Policy has found that Oregon corporations today are paying a smaller portion of the state's income and property taxes than they did 40 years ago.

The evangelist who was a part of the negotiations that ended the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in February returned to Oregon Tuesday. Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, spoke to a crowd of thousands at a rally in front of the state capitol.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a federal corruption case involving the former governor of Virginia could have implications in Oregon.

Oregon lawmakers continued to debate the future of the state's Department of Energy on Monday, when a special legislative panel grilled the leader of that agency against the backdrop of a potential criminal investigation.

Backers of an initiative aimed at boosting Oregon's high school graduation rate submitted a final round of signatures Thursday to the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

If it's an election year, Mark Callahan's name is probably on the ballot in Oregon. Since 2010, he's run -- and lost -- in races for county commission, school board, state House and U.S. Senate.

But this year, Callahan stunned political observers when he came out on top of a four-way contest to win the GOP nomination to face incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ron Wyden this fall.

Oregon school districts are preparing to test for the presence of lead as a result of new rules proposed by Gov. Kate Brown. Members of the Oregon Board of Education Thursday signaled a desire to move quickly on the proposal.

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