Dirk VanderHart covers Oregon politics and government for OPB. Before barging onto the radio in 2018, he spent more than a decade as a newspaper reporter—much of that time reporting on city government for the Portland Mercury. He’s also had stints covering chicanery in Southwest Missouri, the wilds of Ohio in Ohio, and all things Texas on Capitol Hill.
Dirk’s byline has appeared in USA Today, The New York Times, The Houston Chronicle, The Columbus Dispatch, The Oregonian, and more. He’s got a journalism degree from Michigan State University.
Send Dirk the best story ideas.
‘OPB Politics Now’: The gun regulation debate begins ... again
Oregon lawmakers have been so busy this session working up major packages on housing and semiconductors that the two parties have barely had time to fight over the issues that most bitterly divide them. That changed this week, as Democrats called up three bills that would expand gun regulation in the state. OPB reporters Dirk VanderHart and Jonathan Levinson break them down on the new episode.
Budget writers unveil a no-frills plan for Oregon’s next 2 years
The chairs of the Legislature's budget committee say they need to spend limited resources paying for the commitments Oregon has made in recent years — not creating new ones.
Bill to allow motorcycle ‘lane splitting’ once again moving in Oregon’s Legislature
Lawmakers passed a bill in 2021 to let motorcyclists ride between lanes of congested traffic, but it was vetoed.
Oregon House votes to let Oregonians to pump their own gas
A similar proposal died last year, after the state fire marshal argued it would be expensive.
Semiconductor bill that would give Gov. Tina Kotek land-use power moves ahead
The Legislature is rushing to capitalize on federal money for the semiconductor industry. In the process, it's likely to give the governor authority to upend normal land-use policy.
Oregon may ban TikTok on state-issued phones
A bipartisan bill before the Legislature would make Oregon the latest state to block the popular video-sharing app from government devices.
‘OPB Politics Now’: A hectic week in Portland and Salem
On this week's show, we catch you up on a hectic week in Oregon politics. Among the highlights: Portland struggles to find homeless camp sites, Oregon loses its chief financial officer and state lawmakers look at ways to help prevent organized shoplifting.
Oregon’s top budget official is latest high-profile departure
Chief Finance Officer George Naughton has served under four governors. He announced his impending departure on Thursday.
Retailers and law enforcement urge Oregon lawmakers to address organized shoplifting
A pair of bills before the Legislature would put millions toward fighting organized theft, and allow prosecutors to seek stiffer penalties.
An overdose-reversal drug could become far more accessible in Oregon
House Bill 2395, which is meant to drastically improve accessibility to the drug naloxone, cleared the Oregon House on Monday.