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

Chris Lehman / KLCC

The Oregon State Fair has been an end-of-summer tradition in Salem since the 1860’s. The 2019 edition kicked off August 23 with the usual variety of farm animals, fair food, and carnival rides.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Public health officials in Oregon are asking medical professionals to be on the lookout for severe respiratory illnesses among people who use e-cigarettes.

Linn-Benton Community College

Linn-Benton Community College will break ground Thursday on a two-story addition to its Corvallis campus. The school says the project will include 20,000 square feet of additional classroom space, as well as expanded parking.

City of Albany

The City of Albany is seeking public input as it updates its master plan for parks and recreation. The master plan helps the city focus its priorities for parks and recreational programs over the coming decade. The department is gathering input through an online survey and at public events.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

A new law signed this month by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will require pharmaceutical companies to create a statewide prescription drug take-back program. The goal is to prevent unused medication from ending in landfills, waterways or in the hands of people it isn’t meant for.

Some pharmacies and police stations already allow people to drop off their unwanted medicine, but the new law will require a robust statewide prescription take-back program, funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

Oregon Secretary of State

A Roseburg man known for helping to stop a terrorist attack on a French train announced Thursday that’s running for Congress. In 2015, Alek Skarlatos and several others helped take down a gunman on a high speed train headed for Paris. The incident propelled him to worldwide fame, and landed him a slot on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars.”

City of Corvallis

The third annual Open Streets Corvallis event is scheduled for this Sunday, August 18.

Oregon Department of Justice

The Oregon Department of Justice said Monday that it’s joining a multi-state lawsuit aimed at blocking the merger of two major cell phone companies.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint would result in higher prices for Oregon cell phone customers. The two companies are the third and fourth largest telecommunications providers in the country, according to the state Department of Justice.

@OregonGovBrown Twitter feed / Governor's office

Oregon workers will get paid time off to care for loved ones or to welcome a new baby into the family. That’s because of a bill signed into law Friday by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a package of bills Thursday that she says will expand affordable housing opportunities in the state.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Home care workers rallied in Salem Thursday, saying the agency responsible for paying them frequently fails to do so on time. Home care workers support people who are aging or physically disabled.

Benton County

Officials in Benton County will ask voters this fall to create a new taxing district to pay for 911 emergency dispatch services.

Calls to 911 have more than doubled in Benton County over the past three decades, but the number of people answering those calls has increased only slightly. That’s according to a report prepared by several area police departments for the Benton County Board of Commissioners.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill into law Tuesday that creates a new fund aimed at bolstering the state’s wildlife conservation efforts.

Public Domain

The cost of renewing a liquor license in Oregon will go up this year. In some cases, it’s the first increase since at least 1949.

That year, Harry Truman was president, Wiley E. Coyote made his cartoon debut, and Perry Como spent weeks atop the Billboard charts.

That year, it cost $100 to renew an Oregon off-premise liquor license.

It still does. Until October, that is.

Oregon Legislature

Starting in January, a new Oregon law will require pharmacies to provide visually-impaired patients with a device that’s programmed to read prescription information out loud.

The units are called prescription readers. They read a chip applied to medication bottles and convey information about dosage, side effects, refills, etc.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

A new Oregon law that relaxes rules against building schools, hospitals and fire stations in tsunami zones prompted a backlash Tuesday at a meeting of seismic experts in Salem.

House Bill 3309 removes a nearly 25-year-old requirement that gives Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries the right to deny construction of so-called “essential facilities” in coastal areas that are prone to deadly tsunamis.

City of Corvallis

Businesses and residents in Corvallis are seeing a new fee on their utility bills this month. The money will go toward hiring more firefighters and police officers.

The fee was approved by Corvallis City Council and will cost the about $17 per month per single-family home. The city expects the new fees to bring in about four-and-a-half million dollars per year.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University says it’s moving forward with a new location for a planned arts complex on its Corvallis campus.

Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Oregon’s “farm-to-school” program is set for a significant expansion as a result of a bill approved during the closing days of the legislative session.  The concept behind the nearly decade-old “farm-to-school” program is simple: Oregon schools buy food from Oregon farmers and serve it to their students.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Supporters of the Leaburg Fish Hatchery are celebrating after lawmakers gave the facility a last-minute reprieve this weekend.

Eugene Family YMCA

A legislative stalemate at the state Capitol threatens to delay construction of a new facility for the Eugene Family YMCA. The walkout by Republicans in the Oregon Senate is over a carbon emissions bill.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said Tuesday that even if Republicans returned to the Capitol, there still would not be enough votes to pass a massive cap-and-trade bill.

Senator Floyd Prozanski

As the walkout by Oregon Senate Republicans continues, longtime Eugene Democratic Sen. Floyd Prozanski says he thinks the tactic could signal a “new norm” for Oregon politics.

Senate Republicans have left the state in protest of a bill that would regulate carbon emissions. Their absence denies the majority Democrats a quorum, meaning the Senate can’t meet to vote on bills.

Oregon State University

Oregon’s public universities and community colleges are getting a funding boost thanks to a spending plan approved in the Oregon House Thursday. But the fate of the measure is uncertain amid political drama at the Capitol.

While the higher ed community was pushing for even more funding, the budget bill moving forward in the legislature included enough to allow some schools to partly dial back tuition increases set to kick in next fall.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Hundreds of truckers and loggers held a protest at the Oregon capitol Wednesday to show their opposition to a bill that would regulate carbon emissions. House Bill 2020 was approved by the House on Monday and could come up for a vote in the Senate as soon as Thursday.

Log truck driver Steven Wilks of Tillamook says he’s concerned about his livelihood. “It would devastate all of Oregon because of the loss of jobs in all the rural areas,” he said.

Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Gas-powered leaf blowers would be banned in Oregon under a bill that got a hearing Tuesday at the state capitol. But the measure is already dead this session.

File photo

Oregonians could vote next year on whether to increase taxes on cigarettes and cigars. A legislative committee advanced a measure Tuesday that would hike the tobacco tax, and create a new tax on vaping products.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Oregon lawmakers have decided not to regulate kratom, a drug widely sold at convenience stores.

Oregon lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would provide free in-home visits from nurses to parents of newborn babies. 

Oregon Department of Energy

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s proposal to eliminate the Oregon Department of Energy appears to be going nowhere. The Democrat had proposed in her budget to end funding for the agency, which was created in 1975.  

Her idea was to roll many of its functions into a new agency called the Oregon Climate Authority. That agency would have managed the state’s clean energy strategies, including a possible new cap-and-trade program.