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.

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Other News
12:21 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Mall shooting victim expected to survive

PORTLAND – Two people, plus the suspected shooter, are dead after police say a gunman opened fire at a crowded shopping mall in suburban Portland Tuesday. An ambulance took one survivor of the attack to OHSU Medical Center in Portland. The young woman is expected to survive.

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Marijuana Legalization
5:00 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Feds silent so far on marijuana ballot measures

Marijuana activists rally in support of Measure 80 in front of the Oregon state capitol Monday.
Virginia Alvino N3

Two years ago, US Attorney General Eric Holder opposed a California initiative to legalize marijuana. But this year, the Justice Department has been silent on similar measures before voters in Washington, Oregon and Colorado. Monday, a group of former federal drug officials urged the Obama administration to weigh in.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration chief Peter Bensinger says if voters approve the marijuana legalization measures, they’ll put their residents at odds with federal drug laws.

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U.S.
5:49 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Why China wants a mural in Oregon destroyed

This pro-Tibet mural in downtown Corvallis is at the center of a dispute between the town's mayor and the Chinese government.
Chris Lehman for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 5:09 pm

The mural in downtown Corvallis, Ore., is big: 10 feet high and 100 feet long. One side shows a peaceful countryside setting in rural Taiwan. The other shows police beating protesters in Tibet and a Buddhist monk setting himself ablaze in protest.

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Medical Marijuana
5:00 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Marijuana Activists Target Oregon Attorney General Candidate

SALEM, Ore. - A candidate for Oregon state Attorney General faces an unusual new opposition campaign. Democrat Dwight Holton has become the target of medical marijuana activists. Holton faces retired judge Ellen Rosenblum in the May Democratic primary.

Medical marijuana groups say Holton cracked down on marijuana growers and distributors during his time as a federal prosecutor. He served Oregon’s U.S. attorney for two years.

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Same-sex marriage
4:12 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Same-sex marriage foes take Starbucks attacks abroad

Starbucks says it will treat customers with respect regardless of their position on the issue.
The Associated Press

A group that opposes same-sex marriage is taking its boycott of Starbucks to the other side of the world.

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last Winter Storm
3:20 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Late winter storm slams into Washington, Oregon

Here is the latest infrared satellite photo - simply impressive, said KPLU's weather expert Cliff Mass. You can see the swirling clouds around the low center, which is now crossing northern Vancouver Island.
Cliff Mass

Spring arrives next week, but this week still looks like winter in Washington.

The National Weather Service says a front moving through the state Monday is bringing strong winds and rain to Western Washington, heavy snow to the Cascades and snow in much of north central and northeast Washington.

High winds knocked out power for tens of thousands of people in northwest Oregon and western Washington on Monday.

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Gay rights
3:00 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Prop 8 ruling likely has no immediate effect on Northwest

Tuesday's ruling overturning California’s ban on same-sex marriage is not expected to affect similar laws in other states. Oregon and Idaho also have voter-approved amendments against gay marriage.

But Washington lawmakers are poised to send Governor Chris Gregoire a measure allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

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Other News
2:43 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Oregon Treasurer Wants To Streamline State Investment Cash

TIGARD, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers will consider a plan next month to consolidate the ways the state distributes its economic development dollars. Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler outlined Monday what he’s calling the "Oregon Investment Act."

The problem, says Ted Wheeler, isn't a lack of money.

Ted Wheeler: "There are in fact significant dollars allocated by the legislature towards economic development. But they're highly fragmented across different agencies. Not only are they fragmented and siloed, but they're inflexible."

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Logging Industry
9:24 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Oregon's timber counties still seeking help

Oregon's timber dependent counties are still hoping for a federal rescue. But they're creating contingency plans in case Congress doesn't come through with a replacement for historic timber revenue.

Officials from eight counties met with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber Monday to discuss their options. Some counties say they could become insolvent in the next year without additional funding.

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Other News
11:40 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Willamette Valley Cities, Counties To Consider 'Compact'

SALEM, Ore. - Local governments in Oregon's Willamette Valley have made various attempts at regional collaboration in the past few decades. Now, a group is trying to create a more formal relationship. City and county officials meet in Salem Monday to discuss a possible compact to band together on key issues.

The Willamette Valley stretches from Portland south to Eugene. It includes the state capitol and is known for its diverse agriculture. Some two-thirds of Oregon's population lives in the valley.

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Other News
4:48 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Postal Service changes mean earlier deadline to mail ballots in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon vote-by-mail system will be affected by plans to cut next-day delivery of first class mail. The US Postal Service announced that change in service Monday.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown says once the new delivery standard takes effect, voters should mail their ballots by the Thursday prior to a Tuesday election, just to be safe.

But Brown says she still wants voters to have enough time to make up their minds. So she says she'll ask lawmakers to approve an earlier date for county elections offices to mail out ballots.

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Death row
3:43 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Oregon readies its execution chamber for Haugen

Oregon State Penitentiary Superintendent Jeff Premo explains the features of the state's execution room.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – The first inmate to be executed in Oregon since 1997 will have his hands wrapped in gauze to prevent any final obscene gestures. That's one detail that emerged Friday during a media tour of the state's execution chamber.

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Mentally Ill Juveniles
10:00 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Early intervention key to treating mentally ill teens

Karen Howard says her family has been fighting to get help for her nephew, Eric, for more than a decade.
Michael Clapp Northwest News Network

The research is clear that the key to keeping a mentally ill teen in treatment and out of trouble is early intervention. Yet, most counties in the Northwest do not offer comprehensive treatment to kids in the initial stages of a mental breakdown.

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Business
3:46 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Even in a recession, Halloween means cash for retailers

Keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters as you head out on the roads this evening Despite the down economy, retailers expect Halloween spending will rise this year.

The National Retail Federation's annual Halloween spending survey found that the average person plans to spend about $72 on costumes, candy and decorations. That's a jump of more than $15 over the past two years.

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Environment
1:53 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Oregon panel approves increased logging on Elliot State Forest

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler speaks with protesters following a meeting of the Oregon Land Board.
Chris Lehman KPLU

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Land Board gave the go-ahead Tuesday to a plan that will dramatically ramp up logging in a state forest in the Oregon Coast Range. The action came amid protests.

Environmental groups bused in protesters from Portland and Eugene. Long-time activist Tre Arrow led the group in a sing-along outside the Land Board headquarters.

Tre Arrow: "The time is now for the people to rise up."

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