Chris M Lehman

News Reporter

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

Chris has been to all 50 states and every Canadian province. He’s also traveled abroad extensively. He lives in Keizer with his wife, three children, and a handful of backyard chickens. 

Ways to Connect

University of Oregon

Oregon’s so-called “tuition equity” law would be expanded to grad students under a bill approved in the Oregon Senate on Wednesday.

People with disabilities could no longer be paid less than minimum wage under a bill approved  Tuesday in the Oregon Senate.

Federal and state law allows certain employers to pay people with intellectual or physical impairments less than minimum wage. The idea was to help them find employment even if they weren’t considered as productive as a non-impaired person. Most of the organizations contract with government agencies for janitorial or grounds-keeping work.


People who use drones that interfere with conventional aircraft could be charged with a crime under a bill approved Monday in the Oregon Senate.

Paul Lehman / KLCC

The Oregon House voted Thursday to remove the requirement to have a prescription to buy certain medicines that some people use to treat allergy symptoms.

Oregon’s universities and colleges are leaning on state lawmakers to increase funding. It comes as lawmakers debate whether to increase taxes to pay for K-12 education.

Department of State Lands

Overnight camping on the islands of the Willamette River in Eugene could soon be illegal....again. The State Land Board will vote on whether to initiate a rule-making process that would ban the practice on about a dozen islands during its meeting in Salem on Tuesday.

Oregon Department of Transportation

State officials would study the cause of passenger train delays under a bill approved on Thursday in the Oregon House.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

People who call the police as a way to harass law-abiding people could be sued under a measure being considered by Oregon lawmakers.

Rep. Janelle Bynum, D-Clackamas, was knocking on doors last summer in her suburban Portland district when someone called the police. They complained that the African American lawmaker was acting suspiciously.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

The state of Oregon wants to make sure all of its residents are counted during next year’s census. Gov. Kate Brown kicked off the efforts Monday at the state capitol.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Shoppers in Salem may need to find a new routine starting Monday. That's when the city is banning single-use plastic bags at large retail outlets.

Salem’s new law will require stores to charge customers at least a nickel for paper bags. The fee will be waived for customers using public assistance programs to purchase their groceries. The city has been running ads to remind shoppers of the new ordinance and to urge people to make it a habit to bring along their own bags.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Technicians at the Corvallis Waste Water Plant went on a one-day blitz to identify ways the 65-year-old facility could save energy.

Oregon Legislature

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill Wednesday that will indefinitely extend the state’s ban on offshore oil and gas drilling. An existing ban was set to expire in January. The measure that Brown signed into law removes the expiration.

First-graders in Oregon public schools could receive firearms safety training in the classroom under a bill up for a public hearing in Salem on Wednesday.

Students would not be shown how to use a gun. Instead, the once-a-year class would help kids learn the difference between a real gun and a toy, as well as what to do if they find a gun.

First-graders in Oregon public schools could receive firearms safety training in the classroom under a bill up for a public hearing in Salem on Wednesday.

Students would not be shown how to use a gun. Instead, the once-a-year class would help kids learn the difference between a real gun and a toy, as well as what to do if they find a gun.

Oregon would no longer limit the amount of money that juries can award for noneconomic damages under a bill approved in the Oregon House Monday.

Oregon Office Of State Fire Marshal

A mid-March blaze that forced evacuations in Oregon is a reminder that the most active part of wildfire season is still to come. 

City of Corvallis

Voters in Corvallis approved the city’s first ever Urban Renewal District during a special election this month. The district includes a section of the city known as South Corvallis. 

Oregonians could buy fireworks more often under a measure introduced Wednesday in Salem. Right now, licensed retailers can only sell fireworks in Oregon for about two weeks before the Fourth of July. The bill would expand that to include the time leading up to New Year’s Eve, as well as the Chinese New Year and the Hindu festival called Diwali.

Rachael McDonald

Supporters and opponents of a proposed expansion of Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act spoke out at a hearing at the state capitol Tuesday. 

City of Newport

City officials in Newport say they’ve arranged for passenger airline flights to resume for the first time in nearly a decade. But the air service is contingent on the city getting a $500,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Aviation, through the agency’s Rural Oregon Airport Relief Program.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A Lane County fish hatchery will close at the end of June unless Oregon lawmakers decide to keep it open. The Leaburg Hatchery opened almost 70 years ago along the McKenzie River 20 miles east of Springfield. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife operated the trout and steelhead hatchery under a federal contract. When the US Army Corps of Engineers pulled funding last year, state lawmakers plugged the hole with a one-year spending plan.

Oregon Department of Forestry

New rules meant to reduce the impact of smoke from controlled forest burns are now in effect in Oregon.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

More people used Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act to end their life in 2018 than in any other year since the law took effect in 1997. Now, state lawmakers are considering proposals that would expand the law to make it easier for someone to seek medical aid in dying.

Oregon lawmakers could vote to advance a bill Monday that would make it easier for home buyers to figure out whether they’ll need to buy flood insurance. The House Business and Labor Committee will consider the measure.

It isn’t going to warm up very much in western Oregon over the next few days. But other than a few passing flurries or snow showers, there isn’t any accumulating snow in the forecast, either. High temperatures will struggle to reach the mid-40’s through the weekend.

Emerald People's Utility District

Thousands of people are without power for a third straight day in Lane County and other parts of southwest Oregon. Utilities are bringing in crews from around the region to help restore electricity as quickly as possible following Monday’s snow storm. But people in the hardest-hit areas could have a long wait ahead of them. Callers to the Emerald People’s Utility District were greeted with a message on Wednesday telling them that “we do not have an estimated time of repair, and we are encouraging customers to make alternative arrangements for up to a week while we restore power.”

The airport that serves the central Oregon cities of Redmond and Bend is still closed to commercial airline flights following Monday’s snowstorm. Officials say they don’t expect the Redmond Airport to open before 9 a.m. on Wednesday. That’s because the snow damaged a device that helps pilots land during challenging weather conditions. The navigational aide is owned by the Federal Aviation Administration, which is working to repair it.

wikimedia commons

You probably didn’t know it, but it’s against the law in Oregon to haul around more than 20 bales of hay unless you have paperwork that proves you own it. Break that law and you could be charged with a misdemeanor and spend up to 30 days in jail.

More than a thousand criminal justice experts are gathering in Salem this week to compare strategies on reducing crime in their communities. The event is called the Justice Reinvestment Summit.

The idea of “justice reinvestment” is to apply public safety dollars to programs such as addiction and mental health treatment as a way of reducing the number of people behind bars. The resulting savings are reinvested back in the community.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

The Willamette Valley town of Independence will get some help in its efforts to position itself as a leader in rural tech innovation. The Polk County community of around 10,000 people is just a 15 minute drive from the state capitol, but its economy has long been focused on agriculture.