Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris stays on top of political developments in Salem. But that's not all he does. Breaking news from central Oregon to the Pacific Coast is fair game for this versatile reporter.

Pages

Politics
9:33 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Oregon's First Lady Admits She Married Immigrant For Cash

Cylvia Hayes, fiancee of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, cries as she speaks at a news conference in Portland, Ore. on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014.
Gosia Wozniacka AP Photo

Oregon’s first lady said she committed a federal crime 17 years ago. Cylvia Hayes told reporters Thursday that she married a man for the sole purpose of helping him get a green card.

She said the confession came as a surprise even to the man who, this summer, became her fiancé: the governor of Oregon.

Read more
Legal Marijuana
10:59 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

In Oregon, Marijuana Dispensary Leads To Small Town Political Showdown

Brie Malarkey owns Breeze Botanicals in Gold Hill, Oregon.
Chris Lehman

The town of Gold Hill, Oregon is in turmoil. Two-thirds of its city council is the subject of a recall election come Monday.

What has some of the 1,200 residents of Gold Hill so riled up? The targeted city leaders had voted to approve a medical marijuana dispensary.

Read more
Constitutional Rights
3:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Following Judge's Ruling, Changes On The Way For No-Fly List

File image
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Changes are coming to the federal government's no-fly list, but it’s not yet clear what those changes will be.

It all stems from a ruling this summer by a federal judge in Portland. One of the plaintiffs was turned away from a flight after an airline agent said he was on the no-fly list. The man sued after he couldn't even get the government to confirm whether he was on the list, much less why.

Read more
Marijuana Legalization
4:13 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Oregon's Pot Legalization Supporters Kick Off Ad Campaign

Richard Harris is seen this screen grab from an online ad by Oregon's Yes on 91 campaign.

The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon kicked off a multi-million dollar advertising effort Monday.

New Approach Oregon appears to be following the same tactic used by the successful legalization effort in Washington state. The strategy seems to be that if you want to legalize pot, find someone like Richard Harris to make your case. He's the former director of Addictions and Mental Health Services for the state of Oregon.

Read more
Fair Season
12:07 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

State Fair Strategies: What's The Payoff For Lowering Ticket Prices?

FILE - People attending the Puyallup Fair look skyward as fireworks go off near a carnival ride, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, in Puyallup, Washington.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

It's August, which means state fair season is underway in the Northwest. From new names to lower ticket prices, fair organizers are trying hard to get people through the gates.

Read more
Wildfire Victims
5:54 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

So Far, Federal Wildfire Assistance Doesn't Include Direct Payments To Homeowners

This aerial photo shows structures which were destroyed by wildfires near Pateros, Wash. on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
AP Photo

Federal funds are being used to help fight the wildfires that have raged across the Northwest this summer. But so far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency isn't handing out money directly to owners of the nearly 200 homes lost in the blazes.

Read more
Wildfire Season
1:00 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Start A Wildfire? Expect A Bill

File photo of 2013's Little Queens Fire near the town of Atlanta, Idaho.
Inciweb

Whether it’s due to negligence or arson, thousands of wildfires each year are caused by humans. And the person or business who starts a fire can expect a bill.

Jeff Bonebrake is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. It's his job to investigate how a fire started. Once that’s pinned down, he figures out who pays and how much. He says the bulk of the charges are for firefighter salaries and equipment use.

Read more
Marijuana Campaign
11:52 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Oregon Marijuana Campaign Would Like Some Of Your Bitcoin Stash

File image
Ed Andrieski AP Photo

An Oregon political campaign wants your digital donations. The group behind the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana says it's now accepting bitcoin contributions.

Read more
Clean Waterways
1:39 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Farmers Object To EPA's Proposed Changes To Clean Water Act

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.
Chris Lehman

Farmers across the country are riled up over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

Depending on who you talk to, these revisions are either a “land grab” under the “brute force” of the federal government or a simple clarification of rules that ensure all Americans have clean water to drink.

Read more
Food Labeling
3:49 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Supporters Of Oregon's Food Labeling Measure Submit Signatures

File image
Toby Talbot AP Photo

Oregon voters may get the chance to require food companies to label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Sponsors of an initiative to require labels turned in more than 150,000 signatures — nearly double the required minimum — Wednesday in an effort to make the ballot this November. Opponents have already denounced the measure.

Read more
Health & Safety
11:02 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Fire Season Increases Potential For Hazardous Smoke

File — This photo shows a 2013 fire in the Douglas Complex in southern Oregon.
Douglas Forest Protective Association

Hot and dry conditions are expected to create above-normal wildfire conditions in parts of the Northwest this summer. While relatively few people will have to flee the flames, many more will experience a side effect of the fires: thick, acrid smoke.

Read more
Environment
4:41 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Redwood Burl Poaching Spreads To Oregon

This file photo provided by the National Park Service shows a wildlife biologist standing next to a massive scar where a burl has been cut by poachers from an old growth redwood tree in the Redwood National and State Parks.
AP Photo/Redwood National and State Parks, Laura Denn

Redwood burl poaching has long been an issue in the Redwood National Park in California. But now a conservation group says it has spotted evidence of this type of tree damage in a national forest in Oregon.

Burls are the knobby growths sometimes found at the base of the towering trees. They're highly valued for their intricate designs; cross-sections are used to make furniture or artwork.

Read more
Politics
9:27 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Northwest Lawmakers Likely Not In Running For House Majority Position

File image of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
Susan Walsh AP Photo

The surprising upset for House Majority leader Eric Cantor has the GOP looking for a possible successor.

Pundits are already throwing a few names around as possible replacements, including two Northwest lawmakers who have prominent roles in the House Republican leadership. But neither is likely to seek a promotion.

Read more
Life Behind Bars
9:32 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Oregon Has Highest Rate Of Prisoners With Post-Release Supervision

Fewer prisoners serve their entire prison sentence behind bars in Oregon than in any other state according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Oregon also supervises its newly released inmates more than any other state. 

Just a handful of prison inmates in Oregon serve their entire sentence behind bars. The vast majority are released under some form of post-prison supervision.

Read more
Same-Sex Marriage
3:28 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Won't Block Oregon Same-Sex Marriage

Julia Fraser, left, and Jessica Rohrbacher get married by Celebrant Holly Pruett at the Melody Ballroom in Portland, Ore., on Monday, May. 19, 2014.
Steve Dykes AP Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court won't block same-sex marriages in Oregon. The high court on Wednesday turned down a request to halt gay marriages in the state. 

Read more

Pages