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.


Same-Sex Marriage
9:57 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Weddings Begin As Oregon Judge Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

Julia Fraser hugs a family member after getting married as Jessica Rohrbacher, right, walks behind after get married at the Melody Ballroom in Portland, Ore., on Monday, May 19, 2014.
Steve Dykes AP Photo

Same-sex couples are getting married in Oregon now that a federal judge has overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.

Shortly after noon on Monday, the news broke to crowds gathered in Portland that U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled the law violated the federal constitutional rights of gays and lesbians.

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Same-Sex Marriage
12:33 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Judge's Ruling Clears Way For Same-Sex Weddings In Oregon

Supporters of same-sex marriage gathered outside a federal courthouse in Eugene prior to a hearing in the case.
Chris Lehman

Same-sex couples can now marry legally in Oregon after a federal judge Monday overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.

Weddings began almost immediately. County clerks started issuing marriage licenses minutes after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued his opinion. Same-sex couples lined up outside marriage license offices in Portland and Eugene in anticipation of a ruling in their favor.

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Housing Market
4:36 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Northwest Mirrors National Shift Away From Single-Family Homes

Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP Photo

New housing starts are a key economic indicator, but not all new houses are created the same. A new report issued Friday shows Washington and Oregon are following a national shift away from single-family homes toward more apartment complexes.

Multi-family buildings, defined as those with five housing units or more, make up more than one-third of new residential construction in both states. The number has nearly doubled over the past decade.

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Same-Sex Marriage
12:22 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Oregon Judge Denies Motion To Intervene In Gay Marriage Case

Plaintiffs gathered outside the courthouse to celebrate the denial of the motion to intervene.
Chris Lehman

A federal judge in Eugene, Oregon has denied a national group's attempt to defend Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said the National Organization of Marriage failed to prove why it should be allowed to intervene in the case.

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Early Childhood Education
10:10 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Pre-K Enrollment Down, Especially Low In Northwest

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 photo, Bryson Payne, 4, left, and his teacher Jacqualine Sanchez, center, play with pretend food in a pre-kindergarten class at the Sheltering Arms Learning Center in New York.
Seth Wenig AP Photo

The number of preschoolers enrolled in state-funded early childhood education programs is dropping nationally. A national study released Tuesday shows that Northwest states are holding steady in terms of overall enrollment but continue to rank near the bottom in some key areas.

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Same-Sex Marriage
11:13 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Hearing Could Provide Answers In Oregon Gay Marriage Debate

Wednesday could be a big day in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in Oregon. A federal judge in Eugene will hear arguments from a group that wants to defend a voter-approved ban on gay marriage. 

Four same-sex couples sued the state to overturn the 2004 ballot measure that defined marriage as only between one man and one woman. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum declined to defend the law. As a result, a national group filed a last-minute motion to be allowed to defend the measure on the state's behalf.

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Generation M
11:12 am
Wed May 7, 2014

One Millennial Working Hard To Overcome His Generation's Stereotypes

Bryan Williams is a political science major at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Chris Lehman

Twentysomethings get a bad rap these days. You know the stereotypes: heads buried in their smartphone, sleeping in their parents' basement, too apathetic to care about anything — especially getting involved in politics.

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Same-Sex Marriage
11:05 am
Tue April 22, 2014

National Group Attempts 11th-Hour Intervention In Oregon Gay Marriage Case

Chantal Andrea

A national group that opposes same-sex marriage is trying to intervene in a case scheduled to go before a federal judge in Oregon this week.

Oregon voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage a decade ago and on Wednesday in Eugene, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane is set to hear oral arguments to overturn the law.

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Legal Marijuana
11:39 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Does Legalized Marijuana Put Washington Drivers At Risk Out Of State?

AP Photo

Some drivers from Washington and Colorado say they're being targeted by police when they cross into Idaho.

They claim it’s because their license plate shows they live two states that have legal marijuana, but that’s a hard thing to prove.

At least two Washington drivers say they were pulled over in Idaho on suspicion of using marijuana. In both cases, pot was not found and they were let go.

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Natural Disaster
9:10 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Oso Landslide Death Toll Rises, Number Of Missing Drops

A dog works with searchers at the scene of a deadly mudslide Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Oso, Wash.
Elaine Thomopson AP Photo

The death toll has risen to 18 following the devastating landslide near Oso. One bright spot: The number of people missing has fallen dramatically, down to 30.

Searchers are still pulling bodies from the debris, sometimes in pieces. Steve Schertzinger, a chaplain with the nearby Marysville Police Department, described what it was like to deliver bad news to a grieving family member.

"We sat down and I just said, 'Well, the waiting is over.' And then I cried. I cried," he said.

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Liquor Privatization
5:00 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Study: Liquor Privatization Has Shaped Youth Perception Of Alcohol

In this Thursday, June 18, 2009 photo, assistant manager Bill Oldenburg stacks liquor on shelves at a north Seattle state liquor store Thursday, June 18, 2009.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Fewer teenagers in Washington say drinking alcohol is wrong, according to a survey taken after the state privatized liquor sales by two Northwest public health researchers.

The finding comes as Oregon voters are being asked to sign petitions for a similar liquor sales privatization.

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Same-Sex Marriage
1:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Oregon's Attorney General Won't Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban

File - Mark Phariss, left, clutches the hand of partner Victor Holmes, right, as they talk to the media outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in San Antonio.
Eric Gay AP Photo

Oregon's Attorney General says she won't defend the state against federal lawsuits challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. A ruling in the case could come this spring. 

Ten years ago Oregon voters changed the state's constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

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Avalanche Danger
1:38 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

What To Do If You're Caught In An Avalanche, And How To Avoid The Danger

In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, evidence of sliding snow is seen in steep terrain near a ski area at Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo


As snow continues to pound the region's ski resorts, plenty of skiers are expected to hit the slopes. But with the increased snowpack comes the risk of avalanches.

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Columbia River Crossing
9:30 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Try To Resurrect Columbia River Crossing Plan

File image
AP Photo


Oregon lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on the latest version of a plan to fund a new Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River.

The hearing even drew testimony from lawmakers on the Washington side of the river.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber says if the Legislature doesn't act by mid-March, he'll pull the plug on the project for the foreseeable future.

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Whale Watching
11:01 am
Fri December 27, 2013

3 Tips On Spotting A Migrating Gray Whale Along The Oregon Coast This Week

Mike Baird Flickr

The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is one of the best times of the year to watch grey whales migrating along the Oregon coast. It's the height of their annual southbound trek from Alaska to Baja, California.

Here are three tips to help better your chances of spotting a grey whale.

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