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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

Nation | local | Politics | Climate change | News

Fate Of Climate Bill In Question As Oregon Senate Standoff Continues

Rumors abound that the state's signature proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions could be in trouble.

local | Politics | News

Oregon Lawmakers Cancel Saturday Session Due To Potential Statehouse Threat

It appears Oregon lawmakers began communicating again Saturday after Republican Senators refused to show up at the Oregon Legislature late this week and dialogue stalled out Friday amid a battle over a sweeping cap-and-trade climate bill.

Environment | Politics | local | News

Oregon Senate Standoff Continues: Could A Few Words Make A Difference?

Republicans say they'll come back if a controversial cap-and-trade bill is put before voters. Democrats say they're being disingenuous.

local | Politics | News

'OPB Politics Now:' Republicans Walk Out, Again

Senate Republicans staged another walkout in the Oregon Legislature this week. And things quickly turned tense.

local | Politics | News

Oregon Senate Republicans Walking Out (Again)

Three Republican state senators confirmed they and their colleagues would be scarce at the Oregon Capitol Thursday to stymie a vote on a cap-and-trade bill.

local | Politics | News

Oregon Legislature Punts On Changing Troubled Public Defense System

In a hearing Wednesday, lawmakers killed proposed changes to Oregon's public defense system.

Health | Politics | local | News

Oregon Lawmakers Tout Local Mental Health Programs, But Cuts Might Be Coming

The Oregon budget currently contains a $15.4 million cut that advocates say could wreak havoc on state's overwhelmed mental health system.

Economy | Climate change | Business | Environment | News | local | Politics

Oregon's Cap-And-Trade Bill Clears House, Heads To Senate

Oregon House lawmakers debated the cap-and-trade bill for six hours before passing it largely along party lines.

local | Politics | News

Killing Police Punishable By Death Under Amended Oregon Bill

After late opposition, lawmakers are planning an amendment that would ensure killing police officers is punishable by death.

Politics | News

'OPB Politics Now': What Would Cap And Trade Really Mean For Oregon?

Oregon is trying to fight climate change. But what would a proposed cap and trade rule actually do? 

Health | Politics | local | News

Once Stalled, A Cigarette Tax Hike Is Moving In Oregon Capitol

A proposal to raise cigarette taxes by $2 per pack in Oregon would now go to voters, after recent changes.

Environment | Politics | local | News

Oregon's Major Climate Change Proposal Clears Final Committee

The sweeping cap-and-trade bill is two votes from becoming law. But challenges remain.

Economy | Environment | Communities | News | local | Politics

Cap-And-Trade Bill Gets Last Minute Tweaks In Surprise Hearing

The amendments were drafted in order to ensure the highly contentious bill can pass the state Senate.

Environment | local | News

Oregon Senators Shoot Down Ban On Foam Food Containers, Approve Bag Regulations

Taken together the bills would have put the state at the forefront of a movement to reduce plastic waste. 

Politics | News

'OPB Politics Now:' It’s Legislative Pop Quiz Time

The Oregon Legislature is headed into its final weeks, and there is too much happening to fit into one podcast.

Climate change | NW Life | Environment | News | local | Politics

Cap-And-Trade Bill Nears Last Committee Hearing — And A Late Test

Sen. Betsy Johnson, a Democrat, filed a last-minute amendment that could weaken the state's signature climate change proposal. 

local | Politics | News

Oregon Joins Popular Vote Movement

Oregon will join 15 other states in agreeing to send electoral votes to candidates that win the most votes nationally. The proposal had failed in seven previous sessions. 

local | Politics | Business | Education | News

Oregon's Brand New Business Tax Could See Meaningful Changes

The tax has already been signed into law, but a series of "technical changes" unveiled this week include new exemptions. 

local | Politics | News

Oregon Senate Rejects Unlimited Jury Awards In Rare Tossup Vote

House Bill 2014 was a priority for Oregon's trial lawyers but despised by medical associations and businesses. 

Environment | Politics | local | News

Oregon’s Carbon-Reduction Plan Might Include Hefty Fuel Rebates

Nearly a quarter of the money the state takes in under cap and trade could be diverted to help loggers, farmers, and low-income motorists avoid cost increases.