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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Union unrest
9:49 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Oregon university workers relieved to avoid strike

MONMOUTH, Ore. - Public university employees in Oregon say they're glad they won't be going on strike. But that doesn't mean they're all happy with the tentative contract deal. Negotiators reached that settlement early Thursday morning after an all-night bargaining session.

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Education
1:24 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Oregon universities avert SEIU strike

SALEM, Ore. – Negotiators have averted a potential strike at Oregon's seven public universities, at least for now. The Oregon University System and the union representing nearly 4,000 front-line employees agreed on a tentative two-year settlement early Thursday morning.

As the clock ticked past midnight, SEIU lead negotiator Marc Nisenfeld says it was clear the momentum was there for an agreement. So the bargaining team did everything they could to stay awake.

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Education
4:57 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Strike vote nears at Oregon universities

SALEM, Ore. - Workers at Oregon’s seven state universities are nearing a possible strike authorization vote on Thursday. The union representing nearly four thousand higher ed workers issued a report Monday blasting the state's university system.

The SEIU accuses the Oregon University System of being top-heavy with administrators. The union also says the schools have gone on a building spree that means money that could fund services is now going to pay off construction debt.

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Education
8:13 pm
Mon September 5, 2011

Mentor programs reach fraction of young teachers

Eric Phillips welcomes mentor Karen Herinckx into his classroom at Judson Middle School in Salem.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. - An old proverb goes like this: "Each one, teach one." It means that everyone is responsible for passing along knowledge to the next generation. That's true in many professions. A senior surgeon will demonstrate a high-stakes operation to a young medical student. A veteran fire-fighter will show the ropes to a fresh-faced rookie.

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9/11 Anniversary
10:00 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Imam says 9/11 led to interfaith dialogue

Mikal Shabazz is an imam in Portland.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Reflections of a Muslim leader in Portland:

"As-Salamu Alaykum. That's 'Peace be unto you.' I'm Imam Mikal Shabazz, the director of the Oregon Islamic Chaplains Organization.

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Other News
5:44 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Crash At memorial ceremony highlights dangers of distracted driving

JEFFERSON, Ore. - Two Oregon police officers killed along Interstate 5 by a drowsy driver ten years ago were honored with a memorial sign along the highway where they died. But in an ironic twist, people attending the ceremony got a vivid demonstration of the dangers of distracted driving.

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Protests
4:48 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Oregon rallies tell Congress to end corporate tax breaks

Demonstrators prepare to march to the Salem office of Democratic Congressman Kurt Schrader.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Members of Congress are getting an earful from their constituents during their summer recess. This week, a coalition of left-leaning groups is holding a series of rallies across Oregon.

The demonstrations are targeting members of Congress from both parties.

In Salem, a group marched toward the office of Democrat Kurt Schrader. The march was sponsored by an alliance of public employee unions and liberal activist groups.

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Elections 2012
1:15 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Gay marriage supporters court Latino community

SALEM, Ore. - Gay marriage supporters in Oregon are trying to win over support from the Latino community. They’re targeting Spanish speakers in a new radio ad campaign.

The ads mark the first concentrated effort to build support for gay marriage among the Hispanic community in Oregon.

Jeana Frazzini is executive director of Basic Rights Oregon. She says the effort comes as the organization considers whether to take a same-sex marriage initiative to the ballot next year.

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Budget crisis
12:16 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

Oregon economists predict $200 million revenue hit

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon economists say the recent turmoil on Wall Street is having an effect on the state’s finances. But it’s a small one so far. An economic forecast issued Friday shows a projected 200 million dollar drop in revenue.

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Electric Vehicle Tax
9:20 am
Thu August 25, 2011

Oregon governor continues push for electrical vehicle tax

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber addresses the Oregon Transportation Commission.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has not given up on the idea of a mileage tax paid by electric vehicle owners. The tax is meant to offset the lack of gas taxes paid by people who drive electric cars.

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Education
9:04 am
Thu August 25, 2011

Oregon state workers approve contract

Members of Oregon’s largest public workers' union have approved a new two-year contract. It's the first time state workers have agreed to pay a portion of their health insurance premiums.

Members of SEIU Local 503 voted to ratify the contract 77% to 23%. The agreement means that many state workers will pay around 5% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. Employees will also have to take unpaid furlough days. They'll also get cost of living pay increases.

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Other News
5:05 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Oregon unveils newest 'solar highway'

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez autographs a solar panel at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new "solar highway" project along I-5 near Wilsonville, Ore.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

WILSONVILLE, Ore. - Drivers taking a break on I-5 near Portland could soon have their rest stop powered by the sun. Oregon broke ground Tuesday on a new solar project that officials are hailing as the largest of its kind in the nation.

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NOAA leaves seattle
9:43 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Newport, Ore., prepares to welcome NOAA

Newport has been rolling out the welcome mat for NOAA's new facility.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

NEWPORT, Ore. – A fleet of federal research ships is moving from Seattle to the Oregon coast. This weekend, state and local leaders in Newport are celebrating the transition with festivities. The state of Oregon kicked in nearly $20 million to help Newport lure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific operation center from its long-time home.

From the Yaquina Bay Bridge, a huge bridge over the harbor, you can get a good view of the new NOAA pier. It can hold up to a half-dozen ocean-going ships.

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Environment
4:38 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Plastic bag opponents make their case city-by-city

NEWPORT, Ore. – Advocates of banning plastic grocery bags are taking their cause to smaller cities. An effort to ban the bags statewide failed in both the Oregon and Washington legislatures this year.

Now, supporters are making their case to city councils across the Northwest.

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Business & Finance
2:00 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

Harry & David close to emerging from bankruptcy

Harry & David's flagship store in Medford.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

One of the best-known Northwest brands is closer to getting out of bankruptcy. A federal judge has given a tentative okay to the recovery plan for Oregon gourmet food and gift retailer Harry & David.

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