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.

More Oregon taxpayers than normal are facing a longer wait for their refund this year. But as a later-than-usual April 18 filing deadline approaches, the Oregon Department of Revenue said it's clearing out the backlog.

During her second State of the State address Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown renewed her call for the legislature to approve a massive transportation funding package.

National Weather Service

The Northwest is basking in an early taste of summer late this week. Highs are topping 80 degrees in parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. That could set records for the date in a lot of places.

Forecaster Colby Neuman with the National Weather Service in Portland said it's thanks to winds from the east that are blocking cooler air that typically spreads into the region from the ocean at this time of year. But Neuman added that the unseasonably warm weather isn't necessarily a sign of things to come.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will deliver the 2016 State of the State address this Friday in Portland. It's her second one since taking office last year in the wake of John Kitzhaber's resignation.

So far Brown's office has released few details about what the governor will talk about.

The Northwest is in for an early taste of summer Thursday and Friday. Highs could top 80 degrees in parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. That would set records for the date in a lot of places.

Gavin Seim, a prominent supporter of the group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is kicking off a nationwide speaking tour in Oregon. He's asking fellow activists to pressure the government to release the occupiers who are awaiting trial in Oregon and Nevada.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, some activists and entrepreneurs are taking the next step: They're running for office themselves.

The Oregon primary is still more than a month away, but ballots are already going out in the mail to some voters. And starting Tuesday, campaigns will have to report finance transactions on a timelier basis.

The oil industry said it's backing down from an effort to overturn Oregon's clean fuels law at the ballot. Instead, the Oregon Fuels Association will try to get lawmakers to modify the law when they renew debate on a highway funding plan in 2017.

The effort to privatize liquor sales in Oregon cleared a hurdle Thursday when the state Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for initiative sponsors to gather signatures. The potential ballot measure is already raking in millions from the grocery industry.

Cape Kiwanda is an icon of the Oregon coast, but its jagged bluffs and towering dunes also tempt thrill-seekers to get too close to the edge.

The chair of the commission that regulates Oregon utilities says she won't seek appointment to another term and will step down in May. Susan Ackerman did not give a reason for her decision in a letter to Governor Kate Brown Friday.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed a director for the state's largest agency. The Democrat is choosing Clyde Saiki to take the helm at the Department of Human Services.

Republican Allen Alley waited until the last minute to enter the Oregon governor's race. But he isn't wasting any time raising money.

The state flag of Mississippi is no longer flying outside the Oregon capitol. It was removed this week at the request of legislative leaders.

The list of iconic movies filmed at least partly in Oregon is long. It includes “The Goonies,” “Animal House,” and more recently, “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has officially launched her campaign to win another two years in office. The Democrat filed election papers in Salem Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon is the deadline for candidates to file to appear on the May primary ballot in Oregon. It also marks a milestone for the state's newest major political party.

M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers in Salem just wrapped up their legislative session for 2016.

The majority Democrats emerged from the session with a number of key wins. But Republicans say the Dems took unfair advantage of their position.

JPR’s Liam Moriarty spoke with our Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman to bring us this overview. 

One of the final items Oregon lawmakers approved before closing out their 2016 legislative session Thursday was a measure that would allow cities and counties to require developers to include low-income housing options in new developments.

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