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.

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Politics & Government
4:49 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Oregon Considers Measure To Limit E-Cigarette Access

Justin Newman exhales vapor from an e-cigarette.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:53 pm

Sometimes technology outpaces the government's ability to regulate it. That's what's happening with electronic cigarettes.

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Allowing grocery stores to sell hard liquor
4:44 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Kitzhaber Has 'Concerns' About Grocery Stores Liquor Sales

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber answers questions from reporters during a state capitol press conference Thursday.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 4:16 pm

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he has concerns about proposals to allow grocery stores to sell hard liquor.

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Governor's Bridge Ultimatum
9:36 am
Tue January 28, 2014

The Hour Of Decision Is Near For The Columbia River Crossing

Interstate 5 spans the Columbia River between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington.
Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 9:51 am

The Columbia River lazily passes under Interstate 5 between Portland and Vancouver, Wash. You wouldn't really call the water troubled. The bridges over it, however, are. 

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No Capital Punishment on Kitzhaber's Watch
2:22 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Oregon Inmate's Request To Be Executed

File photo of Gary Haugen
Oregon Department of Corrections

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 5:25 am

Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling means that two-time murderer Gary Haugen will not be executed for the foreseeable future.

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New Liquor Regulations
6:41 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Alternative To Liquor Privatization Initiative

he Oregon Liquor Control Commission sells liquor through about 240 contracted small stores like this one in Salem.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:24 am

Oregon grocery store owners want to sell hard liquor, just like their counterparts in Washington do. 

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Health Exchange Accountability
6:07 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Grill Director Of Health Insurance Exchange

Cover Oregon

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:04 pm

Oregon's Obamacare health insurance exchange is finally getting some traction after a shaky beginning.

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Oregon Questioning I-5 Bridge Project
3:07 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Want More Answers On I-5 Bridge Plan

An artist's rendition of the proposed 1-5 bridge over the Columbia River.
Columbia River Crossing

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 5:30 pm

Oregon lawmakers say they want more answers before they'll agree to proceed with a plan to build a new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River.

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No Pensions for Oregon Lawmakers
5:04 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Incoming Oregon Lawmaker Will Be First To Be Banned From PERS

File photo of the Oregon State Capitol Building
Matt Howry Flickr

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 4:38 pm

Last year, Oregon lawmakers approved a bill that will bar their future colleagues from signing up for the state's public pension plan, or PERS.

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bonds for a new I-5 bridge across Columbia River
3:53 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Oregon's Treasurer Casts Doubt On I-5 Bridge Tolling Plan

An artist's rendition of the proposed 1-5 bridge over the Columbia River.
Columbia River Crossing

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:36 pm

Oregon's state treasurer says he won't approve bonds for a new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River without a guarantee: that Oregon can collect tolls from Washington drivers.

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Gun Control Back on Agenda?
6:58 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Could Reconsider Background Checks For Gun Purchases

Augustas Didzgalvis Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 4:59 pm

Oregon lawmakers are gearing up for another fight over background checks for gun purchases.

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NPR Story
4:51 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Oregon Looks To Revamp System Of State Supervisors

Oregon state printing plant manager Tim Hendrix (right) listens as production mail manager Tim Landgren updates him on the morning's operations.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:18 pm

A comprehensive review that’s now under way could bring big changes to state government in Oregon.

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bills are lower at the Oregon Governor's Mansion
3:30 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Oregon's First Lady Shows Off Energy Efficiency Improvements At Governor's Mansion

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes gave reporters a tour of energy efficiency upgrades at Mahonia Hall.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:04 pm

Thanks to a series of energy efficiency improvements, the heating bills are lower at the Oregon Governor's Mansion this winter.

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New Oregon Laws Passed
8:36 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

New Oregon Laws: Taxes, Texting, Tethering And Tanning

The fine for texting while driving is set to double in the new year.
Jason Weaver Flickr

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 3:49 pm

Call it the year of the "T." Some of the new laws set to take effect in Oregon when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve involve taxes, texting, tethering and teen tanning.

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Whale Watching
8:35 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

How To Spot A Whale On The Northwest Coast

Larry and Marie Hinton keep an eye out for whales at Boiler Bay State Park near Depoe Bay, Oregon.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 2:58 pm

The week between Christmas and New Year's is one of the best times of the year to watch grey whales migrating along the Oregon coast.

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The year ahead will be a busy one for Oregon
3:20 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

2014 Will Be Busy Year For Oregon Voters

File photo of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Office of the Governor

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 11:49 am

The year ahead will be a busy one for Oregon voters. They'll decide among candidates for a pair of high-profile offices. And 2014 is shaping up to be a busy year for initiatives, too.

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nursery owners are hoping for some repeat business
4:23 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Oregon Trees, Shrubs Get Role In New Action Flick

Oregon-grown plants were used to re-create 18th Century Japan in scenes like this one from the movie '47 Ronin.'
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:18 pm

The makers of the new action flick 47 Ronin didn't want to film their movie in Oregon. But that doesn't mean the state won't have a starring role.

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Congress declined to extend the payments
3:51 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Long-Term Unemployed Scramble As Loss Of Benefits Looms

Job seekers look for work at the Worksource Oregon office in Salem.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:58 pm

About 45,000 people in the Northwest will face the new year without the unemployment benefits they've come to rely on.

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NPR Story
4:56 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Oregon Unemployment Rate Hits Lowest Level Since 2008

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 3:07 pm

Oregon's unemployment rate is at its lowest in more than five years according to numbers released by the Oregon Employment Department Tuesday.

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NPR Story
6:56 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Liquor Privatization Battle Could Be Headed For Oregon

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:52 pm

Oregon voters could have the chance to follow Washington's lead next year when it comes to liquor sales.

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NPR Story
2:24 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Long-Term Unemployed Face End Of Benefits

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:02 am

The holiday season will mean an end to unemployment checks for about 1.3 million Americans, including about 45,000 jobless in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 

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