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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

News | Politics | local

Judge Finds Oregon Secretary Of State Improperly Rejected Ballot Measures

The two measures would force Oregon to transition to emissions-free electricity. They are now free to proceed. 


Oregon Senate Republican Leader: 'Nothing Is Off The Table' In Climate Fight

Despite changes to address Republican concerns, Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr. says his outlook on a cap-and-trade proposal hasn't budged.

News | Election | Politics | local

Pay To Play? Out-Of-State Law Firms Reap Rewards Of Oregon Campaign Contributions

For the last decade, out-of-state law firms have played an increasing role in Oregon politics. It's paid off.

News | Environment | Politics | local

Revised Climate Change Bill Creates New Battle Lines For 2020 Session

The latest proposal for regulating the state's greenhouse gas emissions has won over some skeptics — but risked support in other areas. 

News | Politics

Speaker Tina Kotek: Oregon Should Declare A Homelessness State Of Emergency

The proposal would aim to make it easier to site homeless shelters in cities around the state. Portland took a similar step in 2015.

News | Politics | local

Top Official Resigns From Oregon Secretary Of State's Office

Deputy Secretary of State Rich Vial would not discuss his reasons for leaving the office. 

News | Politics | local

Oregon Secretary Of State Faces New Lawsuit Over Ballot Measure Rejections

The suit is the latest escalation in a growing confrontation between Oregon's only statewide Republican official and environmental interests. 

News | Politics | local

Multnomah County Chair Seeks Short-Timer To Replace Rep. Jennifer Williamson

Chair Deborah Kafoury has signaled she wants to appoint a replacement who will not run for the Southwest Portland seat in this year's election. 

News | Politics | local

Portland Commissioner Nick Fish Dies At 61

Portland Commissioner Nick Fish has died at 61, his office announced Thursday. Fish had announced his resignation to focus on treatment for stomach cancer earlier in the week.

News | Politics | local

'OPB Politics Now': Outlaw's New Job And Remembering Nick Fish

This week brought two stunning changes to Oregon’s largest city: Police Chief Danielle Outlaw's departure and Portland Commissioner Nick Fish's death.

DOJ Argues Secretary Of State Is Misunderstanding Oregon State Law

The Department of Justice typically defends state agencies. In this case, it is siding with groups who say Secretary of State Bev Clarno misunderstands Oregon law. 

News | Transportation | local

Beginning in 2020, Oregon Cyclists Can Treat Stop Signs As Yields

Seventeen years after it was first proposed, the "Idaho stop" arrives in Oregon on New Years Day.

News | Politics | local

Judge Denies Grazing Rights To Dwight And Steven Hammond

It's the latest twist in a saga that helped lead to an armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

News | Politics | local

'OPB Politics Now': The Fight Over Freeway Expansion

This week we discuss the growing political fight to expand the Portland Rose Quarter area where there is chronic freeway congestion.

News | Environment | Election | Politics | local

Oregon Secretary Of State Bev Clarno Rejects Clean Energy Proposals

It's the second time Clarno has flexed her muscle to reject potential ballot measures, and her decision could set up a court challenge. 

News | Election | Politics | local

Oregon State Rep. Jennifer Williamson Will Resign To Focus On Statewide Campaign

State Rep. Jennifer Williamson's early departure creates a vacancy in her deep-blue Portland district. 

News | Election | Politics | local

'OPB Politics Now:' The Race To Replace Rep. Greg Walden

The race to replace U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, got even more interesting this week as former gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler jumped in. 

News | Politics | local

Timber Unity Recall Effort Against Oregon Coastal Democrat Comes Up Short

The effort was a test of fledgling political group Timber Unity's might. It's the third time opponents have failed to recall a Democrat this year.

News | Politics | local

Oregon Secretary Of State Properly Rejected Ballot Measures, Judge Rules

The decision suggests Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno has wide latitude in deciding whether proposed measures pass constitutional muster. Opponents vowed to appeal. 

News | Business | Health | Politics | local

Oregon Cigarette Tax Supporters Reveal A Massive Early War Chest

The campaign for a tax increase has received nearly $9 million from seven health systems, suggesting a hugely expensive ballot fight awaits.