Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

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.

In addition to working full time in public radio for the past decade, Chris has also reported from overseas on a freelance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and children.

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Oregon lawmakers have signed off on a measure to ensure that women will be paid the same as men. The Oregon House approved the bill Monday.

The May revenue forecast is a critical piece of information for lawmakers as they decide how to spend taxpayer dollars during the next two-year budget cycle.

Supporters of a proposal to cover the medical costs of all Oregon children rallied at the state Capitol Friday. A pair of bills under consideration in Salem—HB 2726 and SB 558—would extend Oregon Health Plan coverage to include kids who are in the country illegally.

Oregon lawmakers have signed off on a bill that would make it easier for transgender people to change their identity on state government documents like a drivers license or birth certificate.

The Senate voted 23-6 Wednesday to approve the bill, which now heads to the governor's desk.

Oregon lawmakers got their first look at a proposed $8 billion transportation funding package Monday night. The money would come from a higher gas tax, higher vehicle registration fees, new taxes on cars and bicycles, and a statewide payroll tax.

The $8 billion would come in over the next ten years, with work on some congestion relief projects starting as soon as next year. 


Oregon House Democrats pitched a plan to overhaul the way the state taxes businesses Thursday. The proposal is part of an effort to bridge a $1.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming budget.

Oregonians could petition a court to revoke the gun rights of a household member in crisis under a bill approved Monday in the Oregon Senate.

Oregon lawmakers are one step closer to banning the use of all handheld electronic devices while driving.

The Oregon House approved a measure Monday that would clarify that the state's ban on cell phone use while driving applies to all functions of a smart phone, not just texting and talking.

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Red-light cameras in Oregon could soon be also nabbing drivers for speeding. The Oregon House could vote as soon as Monday on a bill that would allow cities to use the cameras to issue speeding tickets.

Red-light cameras in Oregon could soon be also nabbing drivers for speeding. The Oregon House could vote as soon as Monday on a bill that would allow cities to use the cameras to issue speeding tickets.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Sexual assault victims under age 21 could come forward to police without being cited for underage alcohol possession under a measure moving ahead in the Oregon Legislature.

The Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the bill. Republican Sen. Kim Thatcher said that while the bill does let minors in possession off the hook, it's a matter of priorities.





The state of Oregon has announced a new round of taxpayer-funded grants to help schools and other public buildings better withstand a major earthquake.

A key deadline for measures to advance in the Oregon Legislature has passed. That means Oregon lawmakers now have a better sense of what's remaining on their agenda.

Hundreds of bills -- some of which enjoyed bipartisan support -- are no longer in play.

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Oregon lawmakers heard public testimony Monday on a set of bills to regulate guns.

One bill would prohibit people who have a standing restraining order filed by their boyfriend or girlfriend from owning firearms. Currently, that law only applies to people who've lived together.

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese testified in favor of the measure.

"Simply put, keeping guns out of the hands of abusers is the best way to prevent them from shooting and killing their victims,” Reese said.

Oregon lawmakers won't vote on a measure that would create a new crime called "militia terrorism." That announcement came from a key lawmaker Wednesday during a hearing on the bill, which drew plenty of opposition.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson wants to restore ballot access to some Oregonians whose voter status has been changed to "inactive."

People who legally buy marijuana in Oregon would enjoy a greater level of privacy under a measure headed for Gov. Kate Brown’s desk. The Oregon House Monday approved a bill that would stop cannabis retailers from recording personal information such as a customer's name, age or address.

Parents would have to keep their small children in rear-facing car seats longer under a bill approved Monday in the Oregon House. The current rear-racing requirement only applies until a child turns 1 or is at least 20 pounds.

The Oregon House narrowly voted Tuesday to ban most no-cause evictions and to allow cities to pass local rent control ordinances.

The Oregon House could vote as soon as Tuesday on a measure that would ban most no-cause evictions in the state.

Gas stations in eastern Oregon could offer self-service gas around the clock under a measure that passed the Oregon House 56-0 Thursday. For decades, Oregon and New Jersey were the only states that banned most drivers from pumping their own fuel. Two years ago, Oregon lawmakers backed away from that ban, but only for rural counties and only at night. The idea was to prevent drivers from getting stranded in a small town where the only station had closed for the day. The new law would allow those rural stations to offer self-serve around the clock.

If advocates have their way, Oregon would join California and Hawaii as the only states where people would have to be at least 21 in order to legally purchase or use tobacco products. The bill would focus the penalties on businesses that sell the products to people under age 21.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to lobby against the Republican health care bill designed to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Lawmakers in Salem are considering a bill that would allow Oregonians to continue to use their driver's license to board airline flights next year.

For more than a century, Oregon voters selected a superintendent of public instruction every four years. That came to an end after lawmakers voted in 2011 to make it a non-elected position chosen by the governor.

Education advocates made their case for increased school funding in front of Oregon lawmakers Thursday. The subcommittee that focuses on education heard testimony from people who want lawmakers to boost K-12 funding from the $7.8 billion proposed in a preliminary budget framework.

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Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would make it easier for transgender people to change their identity on government documents.

Whether it's going to the doctor's office or boarding a flight, there are lots of times when we're asked to show identification. Democratic Representative Rob Nosse of Portland said that can be difficult or even traumatic for people whose gender on their ID does not match how they present themselves.

Alaska Airlines

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would let state workers keep the frequent flyer miles they earn while traveling on official business. The measure passed the Senate Tuesday.

Oregon lawmakers are once again debating whether testimony in front of grand juries should be recorded. It's not the first time the proposal has surfaced.

Lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are debating measures intended to crack down on distracted driving.

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