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.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


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.

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.