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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.

Send Dirk the best story ideas.

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Recent Articles

local | Politics | News

2 Efforts To Recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Have Failed

Oregon GOP chair Bill Currier said the effort came up just short, and he vowed to try again in coming months. 

Election | local | Politics | News

Monday Is Deadline Day For Campaigns To Recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Despite interest around the state, it's unclear whether either campaign can clear the high bar for forcing a recall election.

Election | local | Politics | News

'OPB Politics Now:' The Power Of Public Employee Unions In Oregon

Public employee unions have historically been one of the reasons Democrats enjoy a stranglehold on Oregon politics. But that might be changing.  

Election | local | Politics | News

Oregon Labor Unions Vow Retribution Against Some Democrats

Oregon labor groups are still upset over a vote on pensions. But as the 2020 election nears, are they truly willing to leave their favorite party in a lurch?

Politics | Environment | local | News | Renewable energy

Proposed Oregon Ballot Measures Could Open New Front In Greenhouse Gas War

New proposals would ask Oregon voters to approve steep restrictions in the state's carbon emissions. The effort could apply pressure to lawmakers and industry groups. 

local | Politics | News

Few Pending Cases Meet Oregon's Higher Bar For Death Penalty

Of 43 open cases containing at least one count of aggravated murder, the state's only capital crime, the vast majority will now proceed under a reduced murder charge.  

Climate change | Transportation | Nation | Environment | News | Communities | local | Politics

Oregon Joins Lawsuit Over Trump Administration Emissions Rollback

Oregon is joining nearly two dozen states suing the Trump administration over auto emissions regulations. 

local | Politics | News

Oregon Governor Will Not Call Special Session To Adjust Death Penalty Law

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday she will not call a special session next week, after consensus failed to materialize around a bill to alter the death penalty.

local | Politics | News

Gov. Kate Brown's Top Attorney Rejects Controversial Judicial Appointment

Misha Isaak's appointment had received intense scrutiny after allegations he improperly pressured a state official.

local | Politics | News

Oregon House Republicans Elect New Minority Leader

Republicans in the Oregon House of Representatives have a new leader as they head into the 2020 election cycle. And nearly every staffer in the House Republican Office has reportedly tendered their resignations.

local | Politics | News

Oregon House Republicans Could Replace Their Leader Next Week

Sources say new lawmakers and one corporate lobbyist are working to force a leadership change in the Oregon House Republican Caucus. 

local | Politics | News

Oregon's Public Records Advocate Tenders Surprise Resignation

Ginger McCall had been on the job for less than 18 months. She said she was pressured in her job by Gov. Kate Brown's office. 

Land use | Politics | News | Forestry

Oregon's New Timber Unity Group Seeks To Recall Coastal Democrat

In a filing this week, the group accuses Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell, D-Astoria, of supporting policies that would kill jobs in her coastal district. 

Is A Special Session Coming In Oregon? It's Still Unclear

The governor and attorney general support it. Prosecutors are lobbying for it. But there's still uncertainty over whether lawmakers will come together to tweak the state's death penalty laws. 

local | Politics | News

Oregon Counties Say State Budget Cuts Threaten Programs To Reduce Recidivism

Sheriffs and officials around the Oregon say lawmakers ignored their true costs for supervising and treating offendors, warning of dire consequences.

Politics | News

'OPB Politics Now:' The Start Of Campaign Season

It’s Labor Day weekend, otherwise known as the ceremonial start of the upcoming campaign year.

local | Politics | News

Gov. Kate Brown Will Call Special Session To Fix Oregon Death Penalty

The decision comes after revelations that a recently passed bill could impact decades-old murder cases.

Economy | Politics | local | Business | News

Oregon Taxpayers To See Nearly $1.6 Billion Refund Next Year

With all revenue for the 2017-19 biennium tallied, state officials are preparing to issue the largest-ever "kicker" tax refund in 2020.

local | Politics | News

2 Groups Want To Recall Gov. Kate Brown. Why Can’t They Get Along?

Grassroots activists plotted for months to try to recall the governor. They didn't expect competition from the Republican Party.


local | Politics | News

'OPB Politics Now': Kate Brown Keeps Raising Cash, But Why?

On this week's show, we look at Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's continuing fundraising and explain why she's still collecting donations.