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.


Affordable Care Act could be a hot topic
3:58 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Congressional Incumbents Face Re-Election Heat Over Health Care Law

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
US Senate

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 10:40 am

Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley Wednesday signed on to legislation to allow people to keep their current insurance plans under the new federal health care law.

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NPR Story
3:51 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Group Helps Family Dogs Stay Safe And Untethered

Juventino Guijosa and his dog, Sisi.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 8:09 am

Oregon canines will be howling an unchained melody starting in January. That's when a new law takes effect that makes it illegal to tie up your dog too long.

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NPR Story
8:35 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Uptick In Measles Cases Highlights Need For Vaccination

File photo. Recent measles cases in the Northwest highlight the need to be vaccinated against the infection.

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 5:19 pm

Public health officials say recent measles cases in the Northwest highlight the need to be vaccinated against the infection.

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NPR Story
6:18 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Oregon GMO Labeling Advocates Vow To Push Ahead Despite Washington Loss

File photo of a protest in Washington DC on October 12, 2013.
Stephen D. Melkisethian Flickr

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:30 pm

The latest vote tallies from Washington confirm voters have rejected an initiative to require labels for food containing genetically modified organisms.

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NPR Story
6:27 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Oregon Could Be Next GMO Labeling Battleground

File photo of a wheat harvest on the Palouse.

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 5:18 pm

Washington voters decide Tuesday whether food containing genetically modified organisms should be labeled. Activists in Oregon are planning their own initiative.

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NPR Story
7:16 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Rancher Eyes Oregon Governor's Race

Jon Justesen's ranch is based near the tiny town of Kent, Oregon.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 6:03 pm

Potential Republican candidates for Oregon governor are wondering what the race will look like next year.

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NPR Story
7:13 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Federal Food Stamp Cuts Take Effect

File photo of a woman using her EBT card in Portland, Ore. to purchase food.
Brian Duss Bread for the World

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:48 pm

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

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could soon be canceled due to lack of interest
4:15 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

'Keep Kids Safe' Could Join Long List Of Defunct Oregon License Plates

A sample copy of the "Keep Kids Safe" plate.
Oregon DMV

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 4:11 pm

An Oregon license plate meant to raise money for child abuse prevention programs could soon be canceled due to lack of interest.

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Dennis Linthicum kicked off his campaign Wednesday
3:43 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Congressman Walden To Face GOP Primary Challenger

Klamath County commissioner Dennis Linthicum is seeking Greg Walden's seat in Congress.
Campaign photo

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:21 pm

Oregon's only Republican member of Congress will face a challenger from his own party in next spring’s primary. 

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tax credits to lure major hollywood productions
3:18 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Oregon Launches Film And TV Tax Credit Expansion

File photo of Portland, Ore.
Bob Heims U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 3:49 pm

Film and television producers will soon have an even greater incentive to shoot in Oregon.

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NPR Story
5:47 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Oregon Court Rules Inmate Who Walked Away From Work Detail Did Not 'Escape'

Booking photo of Aaron Cadger
Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:32 pm

An Oregon appeals court has overturned the escape conviction of an inmate who walked away from a work detail at a county fairground.

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NPR Story
5:46 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Signature Drive Forces Vote On Oregon Driver License Bill

Oregon DMV

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:07 am

Oregon voters will decide next year whether people in this country illegally can qualify for a state driver license.

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Public employee unions plan a legal challenge
4:07 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Kitzhaber Signs Special Session Bills, Unions Plan Challenge

Photo courtesy of the Governor's office.

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 4:37 pm

Five bills approved by Oregon lawmakers during a special session last week are now law. Gov. John Kitzhaber signed the legislation Tuesday. But the future of one of those measures is in doubt.

Public employee unions plan a legal challenge. 

It's not a matter of if, but how. That's what an attorney who's led several public pension lawsuits in Oregon says about the chances of a legal challenge to the measure just signed by Kitzhaber

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Successful Passage
5:19 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

'Grand Bargain' Approved By Oregon Legislature In Special Session

Matt Howry Flickr

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 4:41 pm

The so-called "Grand Bargain" has passed in Salem. Oregon lawmakers have approved all five of the bills on their special session agenda.

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Oregon Special Session
7:52 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Oregon Special Session Continues For Second Day

Matt Howry Flickr

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 7:52 am

Members of Congress weren't the only ones working late into evening Monday. State lawmakers in Oregon stayed late as they tried to keep a deal on taxes and public pensions alive. A special session that was planned to last one day is instead going to resume Tuesday morning. 

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Slower Than Expected
3:47 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Oregon Special Session In Flux

Chris Phan Flickr

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 3:37 pm

While gridlock continues in Washington, D.C., tensions have also surfaced in Salem. Oregon's special session hasn't gone according to plan.

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Celebration in Salem
5:54 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Oregon Capitol Building Turns 75 Years Old

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:03 am

You've seen those safety posters marking so many days since a workplace injury. Oregon's state capitol building could have one that says "75 years without burning to the ground!" The original two went up in flames. Now, a series of events scheduled next week will mark the 75th anniversary of Oregon's third and longest standing state capitol. The celebration comes as lawmakers consider a $300 million overhaul.

Frankie Bell is perhaps the ultimate state capitol tour guide. She's worked in the building for more than half its existence.

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2:07 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Special Session GMO Bill Raises Eyebrows In Oregon


Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 5:04 pm

Critics of genetically modified foods are lobbying hard to get the issue off the agenda in next week’s special legislative session in Salem.

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Politics & Government
6:17 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

One Way Or Another, Oregonians Could Vote On Pot Legalization Next Year

Cannabis Training University Wikimedia

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 4:15 pm

First, it was Washington and Colorado. Now, Oregon is in the running to legalize marijuana.

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Politics & Government
7:45 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Kitzhaber Says He'll Call Special Session

Jessica Paterson Flickr

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:31 pm

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he'll call lawmakers back to Salem this month for a special session on taxes and public pensions.

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