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

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.

Oregon State University /

People who fly their drones too close to airplanes would face stiffer penalties under a measure up for a possible vote in the Oregon Senate's Judiciary Committee on Monday.


More than 200 people will soon be out of a job as RV-manufacturer Winnebago says it’s shutting down production at its factory in Junction City.  Three years ago, Winnebago acquired the dormant motorhome plant and ramped up production.

Bradley W. Parks

Oregon’s deaf community is asking lawmakers to remove terms from state law that many of its members consider offensive.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would ban wildlife hunting contests. Backers of the bill include animal rights organizations and conservation groups. They say at least five such events have been held in recent years in Oregon, mostly in Harney and Lake Counties. Usually, contestants try to kill as many coyotes as possible over a weekend. Prizes have included cash and hunting rifles.

Oregon Legislature

Oregon lawmakers are considering a proposal to offer parents of newborns free in-home visits from nurses. Supporters say in-home visits from a public health nurse can go a long way in helping to ease the transition to parenthood. 

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Leaders from more than 200 cities around Oregon, including Eugene, converged on the state capitol Thursday. They were there to tell their priorities to state lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

The Oregon Coast Trail meanders along beaches, through forests…and sometimes along the shoulder of busy Highway 101.

Tiffany Eckert / KLCC

Nationally, women and supporters marched in solidarity in Washington D.C. and other parts of the country.  An estimated 2,500 people attended the 3rd Annual Women’s March Saturday in Eugene. But things got off to a rocky start when one of the speakers at the rally used what some called "divisive" language.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Hundreds of people rallied in Salem Tuesday evening outside the last in a series of public hearings on a proposed natural gas facility. The Jordan Cove Energy Project wants to build a 230-mile pipeline across southern Oregon, with a terminal near Coos Bay.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

A new legislative session always features new faces at the state capitol building. This year’s crop of freshmen includes two southern Willamette Valley state representatives who are both replacing long-time lawmakers who retired.

Chris Lehman

Oregon’s new Labor Commissioner says her first order of business will be a review of a newly released investigation into sexual harassment at the state capitol. 

Courtesy of Val Hoyle

Val Hoyle, a former Democratic lawmaker who served the Eugene area, will take the oath of office January 7 as the state’s Labor Commissioner. Hoyle served eight years in the Oregon House, rising to the role of majority leader. Her district included west Eugene and Junction City. She first ran for statewide office in 2016, falling short in her bid for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State.

With the new year, a new law that’s intended to make it harder for domestic abusers to get guns takes effect in Oregon. It extends the state’s ban on gun ownership to people convicted of domestic violence or stalking a partner, regardless of whether they are married or living together.

The bill was a top priority for Gov. Kate Brown during the 2018 legislative session. The Democrat signed the measure into law during a ceremony on the steps of the state capitol in March.

Eric R. Day, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,

Oregon forestry officials say a potentially devastating pest hitchhiked into Oregon on a shipment of Christmas trees this year.

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services has issued a cease and desist order to an investment company it says ripped off about 70 Oregonians. KLCC’s Chris Lehman reports.

The company is called Woodbridge Mortgage Investment. The state says the firm convinced nearly six dozen Oregonians to pay into what the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission called a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme that targeted seniors.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

When Oregon lawmakers take the oath of office January 14, Phil Barnhart won’t be there. The Democratic state representative from Eugene is stepping down after nearly two decades in office. 

Chris Lehman

Some of the roughly 17,000 historic artifacts recovered from the construction site of a new police station in Salem are on public display until December 30 at the Willamette Heritage Center.

United Airlines

Travelers at two Oregon airports will be able to fly non-stop to Chicago starting next summer. United Airlines will add daily flights to Chicago’s O’Hare airport from Eugene and Redmond in early June. The Redmond flight will operate during the summer only, but the Eugene flight will be year-round.

Oregon Legislature

A Eugene non-profit group says its anti-bullying efforts in Lane and Linn County schools could be used as a model statewide. Oregon lawmakers will consider funding an expansion of the program during their next legislative session.

State of Oregon: Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Higher education officials in Oregon will use a new grant to work on improving graduation rates for students of color. 

Chris Lehman

Oregon’s iconic Bottle Bill is being celebrated with a new sculpture in Salem. In 1971, Oregon became the first state in the nation to require a deposit on beverage containers for soda and beer. That landmark legislation is the inspiration for a new nine-foot-tall steel and aluminum sculpture in downtown Salem.