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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


'OPB Politics Now:' Baseball, Tolling And A Day Of Reckoning

Major League Baseball might be coming to Portland. Tolling might be coming to Oregon freeways. And a day of reckoning might be coming to the state Legislature.

News | local | Politics

In Unprecedented Internal Squabble, Oregon Officials Tap High-Priced Lawyers

The state Legislature's and labor bureau have racked up hefty legal fees as they fight over sexual harassment at the Capitol — and costs are only climbing. 

News | local | Politics

Kotek: Lawmakers Will Comply With Sexual Harassment Investigation

After losing repeatedly in court, the Oregon Legislature will cooperate with an investigation into sexual harassment at the Capitol. 

News | local | Politics

Oregon Lawmakers Ordered To Comply With Subpoenas — But Will They?

Capitol officials face a Wednesday deadline to produce sensitive documents in an ongoing harassment investigation. 

Business | Economy | local | News | Politics

Gov. Kate Brown Quietly Balances Budget With Increase To 'Minimum' Business Tax

The governor's recommended budget would ensure that some of Oregon's largest companies pay more than is currently required. 

Economy | local | News | Politics

Business Leaders: Pension Reforms Must Be Part of 2019 Education Solution

At their yearly summit, some of the state's largest business interests offered a new vision for solving Oregon's fiscal woes. 

News | local | Politics

Oregon Lawmakers Continue Fighting Sexual Harassment Investigation

After being ordered to produce documents by Dec. 5, top Oregon lawmakers are asking a higher court for a reprieve from an investigation into sexual harassment at the Capitol.

Business | Economy | local | News | Politics

Proposed Liquor Tax Tucked Away In Gov. Kate Brown's Budget

A proposed 5 percent increase to liquor prices caught Oregon distillers by surprise.


'OPB Politics Now:' Kate Brown’s $23.6 Billion Budget And A Looming Tax Hike

Oregon's economy is buzzing. Unemployment rates are low. Yet, the state of Oregon is facing a budget shortfall.

News | local | Politics

Oregon Budget Proposal Targets Health, Housing — And Donald Trump

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's $23.6 billion spending plan proposes tax hikes for health care, thousands of new housing units and dedicated money to fight the federal government.

News | local | Politics

Oregon House Republicans' New Leader Looking Beyond The 2019 Session

Rep. Carl Wilson says his depleted caucus isn't even a "speed bump" for dominant Democrats in the upcoming session. He's focused on winning seats in the 2020 election.

News | local | Politics

Anti-Union Groups File Another Lawsuit To Destabilize Oregon Labor

The suit is similar to cases filed in other states. It suggests unions have been breaking the law, in the wake of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

News | local | Politics

Oregon Legislators Must Cooperate With Harassment Investigation, Judge Rules

Lawmakers and other officials have refused to comply with subpoenas since August. A Multnomah County judge said Monday that's not legal. 

News | local | Politics

Oregon Senate Democrats Tap Courtney, Burdick As Leaders

The pair of Peter Courtney and Ginny Burdick has led the Senate caucus since 2015, but have seen recent rumblings of dissatisfaction.

News | local | Politics

'OPB Politics Now:' Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Very Bad Week

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had perhaps the worst week of his tenure. Is the problem this particular mayor or Portland’s unique form of government?

Election | News | local | Politics

Progressive Group Turned In Nearly 100 Ballots Late, Complaint Says

According to a complaint filed last week, officials with the group Our Oregon said they found the box of ballots after election night had passed. 

News | Nation | local | Politics

Former Oregon Capitol Interns Come Forward In Sexual Harassment Case

The two interns were harassed by former state Sen. Jeff Kruse. They've come forward publicly for the first time as part of an ongoing legal fight. 

Business | Economy | local | News | Politics

Oregon Tax Collections Keep Exceeding Expectations; Kicker Likely

Analysts caution they don't know exactly why tax returns have been so robust, but they expect Oregonians will see a big kicker. 

News | local | Politics

Top Oregon Dems Call Harassment Investigation 'Personal Or Political'

In its most pointed response to date, the Legislature says Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian's complaint against lawmakers is "reckless" and "improper."


'OPB Politics Now:' Learning From Washington About Gun Control And A Carbon Tax

Next year, Oregon lawmakers plan to take up gun control and climate change. And coincidentally, Washington voters just considered the same issues.