Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

Chris is a native of rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother's house, and grew up in a 230-year-old log cabin in the woods. Chris traces his interest in journalism to his childhood, when his parents threatened to take away his newspaper if he didn’t do his chores.

In addition to working full time in public radio for the past decade, Chris has also reported from overseas on a freelance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and children.

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SALEM, Ore. – Some of Oregon’s voter-approved criminal sentencing laws would get a second look under a series of recommendations approved Monday by a high level commission. It’s part of a package of ideas aimed at slowing the growth of Oregon’s prison population.

The Commission on Public Safety didn't wholeheartedly endorse the proposal to scale back some voter-approved mandatory minimum sentences. Those include some types of robbery, assault and sex abuse. But the panel did list the strategy as one way for lawmakers to avoid having to open a costly new prison.

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers will consider a bill next year aimed at improving security measures at K-12 schools. Representative Mitch Greenlick says he has 16 co-sponsors on a proposal to create a state grant program for districts to tap into.

The Portland Democrat says the money could be used for things like video monitoring and keycard access systems for school entryways. Schools could also build perimeter fencing. Greenlick says even if the grant program doesn't cover every school in Oregon, it could still spur changes.

SALEM, Ore. - Governor John Kitzhaber called the Special Session after he said Nike was being courted by other states for a major expansion. The Democrat said he wanted lawmakers to authorize the governor to extend Nike an offer: In exchange for freezing the way Oregon calculates its taxes for as long as 30 years, Nike would agree to spend at least $150 million in capital improvements and expand by at least 500 jobs. Lawmakers grumbled about the short timeframe to consider the proposal, but in the end relatively few voted against it.

Jessica Paterson / Flickr

SALEM, OR. - The Oregon House has passed a bill designed to give sports apparel maker Nike special tax status. Governor John Kitzhaber called the legislature into Special Session in order to act quickly to ensure the Beaverton-based company didn't locate a major expansion in another state.

The measure allows the governor to guarantee that the state won't change the way Nike's corporate income taxes are calculated. In exchange, the company agrees to spend at least $150 million on its expansion, and create at least 150 jobs.

Brandon Carson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are meeting in a rare Special Session to consider a proposal to give Nike a unique tax deal. The measure has passed out of committee but its ultimate fate remains unclear Friday afternoon.

Governor John Kitzhaber called lawmakers to the capitol and asked them to do this: Pass a law right away that would allow the governor to freeze the way Nike's Oregon income taxes are calculated, at least for a certain period of time. The Beaverton-based shoe-maker says it will launch a major expansion in the state in exchange for the tax freeze.

Chris Lehman

SALEM, Ore. – Protesters outside the Oregon capitol building Friday are urging lawmakers to reject a bill to give Nike special tax status. Lawmakers are meeting in Special Session to consider the measure. It would allow the governor to freeze the way Oregon calculates the shoe giant’s corporate income taxes. In exchange, the Beaverton-based company would promise to invest at least $150 million and expand by at least 500 jobs in Oregon. Protester Peter Bergel says Nike and other large companies don't need any special deals.

Brandon Carson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – The proposal to give Nike certainty on the way its Oregon income taxes are calculated is winning both cheers and jeers at the state capitol. Lawmakers and interest groups are suggesting several changes to Governor John Kitzhaber's plan, which will come before a Special Session of the legislature Friday.

The bill would allow the governor to enter into a contract with Nike. The bargain? If Nike or any large company expands by at least 500 jobs and invests $150 million, the state would guarantee it wouldn't change the way its corporate income taxes are calculated.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

One of the biggest traffic choke-points in the Northwest is the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver, Washington. Replacing it will be one of the region’s most expensive construction projects in a generation.

Lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are considering funding packages to replace the bridge. A key question is whether enough drivers will pay the tolls planners say are needed to finance the project.

Keith LaFaille / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon lawmaker wants to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines in the wake of Tuesday's shooting at the Clackamas Town Center.

Police say Jacob Tyler Roberts opened fire at the crowded shopping mall, killing two people and seriously wounding another. Then he turned the gun on himself. Investigators say he was using a stolen AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.

Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick says she's circulating a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would ban the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds in Oregon.

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.

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