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Political Reporter

Dirk VanderHart


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.

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Recent Articles

local | News | Nation | Politics

Oregon Lawmakers Set Frantic Pace As Work On Future Police Reforms Begins

In a two-hour hearing, the Legislature's new committee on policing heard from nine speakers on a wide array of subjects. 

local | News | Politics

Oregon Police Accountability Bills Aren't Late, But Critics Say They're Too Little

Advocates of police reform say they plan to keep the pressure on for more in the wake of a special session of the Oregon Legislature.

local | News | Election

Oregon Voters To Decide On Drug Decriminalization, Campaign Finance Limits

As of Thursday afternoon, just four measures appeared likely to qualify for the general election, the fewest in more than 50 years. 

Gov. Brown: Rose Quarter Project 'Not Going To Proceed' Without Black Community Buy-in

The governor's comments come a day after three high-profile names dropped their support for the controversial highway-widening project. 

local | News | Politics

'OPB Politics Now': Wrapping Up The Oregon Legislature’s Special Session

Oregon lawmakers met for an unusual special session last week focused on COVID-19 and racial justice.

local | News | Health

Oregon Governor Extends State of Emergency For 60 Days

Oregonians must have masks at the ready throughout the state with the start of July, to wear inside indoor public areas. 

local | News | Nation | Health

Gov. Kate Brown To Expand Mask Mandate Throughout Oregon

The order will kick in a week after Brown began requiring masks in indoor public spaces within seven Oregon counties. It comes as new cases of COVID-19 have surged in recent days.

local | News | Politics

Oregon Legislators Conclude Marathon Special Session. Here's What Passed

Over the course of three days, lawmakers passed 22 bills dealing with police accountability, coronavirus relief, and much more.

local | News | Politics

Oregon Legislature Advances Police Accountability Measures

As of Friday afternoon, legislators had approved the bills limiting chokeholds and creating a state task force on policing with broad bipartisan support.

local | News | Politics

Oregon Police Reform Package Sees Changes Headed Into Session's Final Stretch

With the end of Oregon's special session in sight, some of its highest profile bills could see big changes. 

Democratic Leaders Agree To Explore COVID Lawsuit Protections

House Speaker Tina Kotek has agreed to explore giving businesses, schools and others protection from lawsuits after most of her chamber signaled support. 

local | News | Politics

With Public Shut Out, A Masked-Up Legislature Convenes In Salem

The special session that began Wednesday is like no other in Oregon history, though not all lawmakers appear to agree with safety rules. 

local | News | Politics

Big Questions Linger On The Eve Of Oregon's Legislative Session

With lawmakers convening Wednesday, no one knows exactly what they'll be considering, or how long it might take. 

local | News | Politics

Police, COVID And The Kitchen Sink: What To Expect From Oregon's Expansive Special Session

The legislative session that convenes Wednesday will look like none other in Oregon's history. 

local | News | Politics

OPB Politics Now: Special Legislative Session Preview

Oregon legislators are going back to work next week for the first time since the pandemic began and protests against police brutality became two of the biggest issues of our time.

local | News | Health

Masks Required In 7 Oregon Counties, Multnomah To Reopen

The mandate will take effect on June 24, and applies only to indoor public spaces. Brown is also allowing four Oregon counties to progress in reopening. 

local | News | Politics

'OPB Politics Now': Protests And Policy Shifts In Response To Racial Injustice

On this week’s "OPB Politics Now," we discuss the police accountability push that’s spurring quick action in Salem and what challenges lie ahead.

local | News | Business | Health

Oregon Supreme Court Rules Against Churches Challenging COVID-19 Restrictions

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled against a group of churches and public officials from Eastern Oregon who challenged Gov. Kate Brown's executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

local | News | Nation

Protest Profiles: Oregonians Speak Out Against Police Brutality

Since police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, nightly protests have put police brutality and racial equity in front of the country like never before. Oregonians have taken to the streets in huge numbers, night after night, in Portland, but they've also marched in smaller cities all over the state, demanding big changes. Here are some of the people marching in Oregon, and why they're out there.

local | News | Politics

Oregon Legislative Session On Police Accountability Coming Soon

Oregon prosecutors have now joined the call for a bill to help discipline against officers stick. The governor plans to call a special session to take up the police accountability legislation.