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.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she won't debate her Republican challenger until September at the earliest. The incumbent Democrat's announcement Wednesday came days after she turned down an appearance at the traditional opening debate of the campaign season.

Oregon schools could soon be required to test for the presence of lead in drinking water, paint and even dirt. That's according to a set of rules proposed Tuesday by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. It adds to a list that already included radon and other chemicals.

Oregon is getting some federal aid to help pay for damages sustained during a series of strong winter storms. The severe weather included strong winds and heavy rains that triggered flooding and mudslides over the course of two weeks last December.

The old adage that every vote counts was especially true in Oregon this year. A tie in the Independent Party primary for a suburban Portland seat in the Oregon House was broken Friday with a roll of the dice.

The Oregon Supreme Court says dogs are more than simply property. Justices Thursday overturned a lower court's ruling that found that taking a blood sample from a dog was a warrantless search.

Not a single school district has told the state of Oregon how it plans to test for radon gas. Every district in the state is required to do so by September 1.

Oregon employers have new guidance from the state on how much to pay their employees when the state's minimum wage goes up next month. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries released rules Wednesday meant to clear up one of the questions surrounding the legislatively-approved minimum wage hike.

Four county governments in Oregon are still struggling enough that the state should continue to monitor their financial condition. That's according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Oregon lawmakers are hitting the road Monday to get a first-hand look at the state's traffic chokepoints. It's part of an effort to develop a transportation funding package for a vote in next year's legislative session.

A bill that makes sweeping changes to Oregon's oversight of foster care providers takes effect next month. The reforms were proposed after numerous media reports of abuse and neglect at several foster care providers.

Following Friday’s derailment in the Columbia Gorge, environmental groups are petitioning the Obama administration to ban rail transport of the most flammable kind of crude oil. And Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday that it was clear that Oregon got lucky -- this time.

Black smoke billowed high into the sky above Interstate 84 Friday afternoon after 11 oil train cars derailed near Mosier, Oregon. At least one of the derailed cars spilled oil and caught fire.

The oil train fire in the Columbia Gorge is the first one since Oregon lawmakers approved funding for a hazardous materials incidents plan last year.

"I have positive feelings about Donald Trump as a candidate."

Gil Bellamy of Salem said he wasn’t holding his nose as he made a bid Saturday to represent Oregon at the Republican national convention this summer in Cleveland—where most Oregon delegates will have been pre-assigned to Trump.

Oregon's economy continues to be strong. That's according to the latest revenue forecast from state economists, which was delivered Friday at the capitol in Salem.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released a plan Thursday on how she'd use money from a potential corporate tax increase. The increase would come from a ballot initiative if voters approve it this fall.

The disclosure of the presence of lead in the drinking water at several public schools in Portland could have statewide implications. But it's not yet clear what the state will do.

Oregonians won't be voting this fall on whether to limit campaign finance contributions in state and local races. The Oregon Secretary of State's office has rejected wording on a proposed initiative that would have changed the state's Constitution to allow that.

Cover Oregon, Oregon’s failed health insurance sign-up website, continues to serve as political fodder, more than two years after state officials pulled the plug. Congressional Republicans have now asked for a federal criminal investigation into the Cover Oregon website mess.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a request to spend about $2.5 million to cover the costs of dealing with the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. A legislative budget panel will take up the proposal Monday.

Now that Oregon's May primary is over, the winners are looking ahead to November's general election. But the primary was notable for another reason.

There was a third major party on the ballot.

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