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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 | News | Politics | Health

Where They Stand: Oregon's Gubernatorial Candidates On Health Care

Gov. Kate Brown and challenger Knute Buehler agree on a lot. But they've clashed when it comes to expanding health care coverage.

local | News | Politics | Health

A Change Of Heart: Knute Buehler Now Supports Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions

In 2015, Buehler supported a bill that would have tightened Oregon's loose vaccination law. 

Food | Business | Politics | local | News | Economy

Oregon Measure 103 Asks: Should Grocers Have Constitutional Protections?

The measure would wall off a segment of Oregon businesses from future tax increases. Advocates say it's about cheap food. Opponents say it's unnecessary and risky.

local | News | Election | Politics

'OPB Politics Now':' Hardesty Vs. Smith For Portland City Council

Portland voters will make history next month, when they elect the city’s first-ever woman of color to the City Council — either Loretta Smith or Jo Ann Hardesty.

local | News | Election | Politics

Final Oregon Gubernatorial Debate Spans Climate Change To Vaccinations

Gov. Kate Brown and state Rep. Knute Buehler touched on abortion, vaccines, and the death penalty for the first time in a debate. The candidates will not meet again before Nov. 6.

local | News | Election | Politics

In 2nd Debate, Brown And Buehler Spar On A Wide Array Of Oregon Issues

In their second meeting, the candidates were far more willing to go after the other's record and temperament. 

local | News | Election | Politics

Campaign Cash Reports Show Races For Oregon Governor, Ballot Measures Chugging Along

Gov. Kate Brown and Rep. Knute Buehler have raised more than $20 million combined, and backers of a ballot measure on grocery taxes are spending heavily.

local | News | Election | Politics

Knute Buehler Says He's A Different Kind Of Republican

The Oregon state representative from Bend is presenting a strong challenge to Gov. Kate Brown in a year when Democrats are expected to surge across the nation.

local | Election | Politics

Oregon Ballot Measure Campaigns Face Nearly $24,000 In Fines For Late Finance Reporting

The campaigns opposing Measures 103 and 104 are both affiliated with the union-backed group Our Oregon. 

Politics | local | Business | Economy

Got A New Job This Year? You Might Be In For An Unpleasant Surprise Next Tax Season

Changes to the federal tax code might mean taxpayers owe more to the State of Oregon than expected next year, officials say.

local | News | Politics

Oregon Public Workers Want Unions To Reimburse Them For Years Of Forced Payments

A new class-action lawsuit is the latest attempt by foes of public employee unions to reduce their political influence. 

local | News | Politics

'Goodbye Party' For Oregon Lawmakers Criticized For Honoring Disgraced Former Senator

A “goodbye party” for departing Republican Oregon lawmakers drew scrutiny because of the inclusion of disgraced former Sen. Jeff Kruse among the honorees.

Environment | News | local | Nation | Health

Report Finds Salem Knew For Years That Algae Could Threaten Water

A new assessment says the city could have better handled a water crisis this summer, but it still did a lot right. 

local | News

Josephine County's Attempt To Upend Oregon Cannabis Laws Has Failed

In a lawsuit filed in April, the county argued that Oregon's marijuana laws violate federal law, and should be scotched.

local | News | Business | Politics

Oregon Agency Sued After Refusing To Release Upcoming Bills

The former lead attorney for the Oregon Legislature filed the suit. The Independent Part of Oregon is considering joining in. 

local | News | Politics

Knute Buehler Supports Oregon's Sanctuary Law — But Wants It Repealed

The GOP candidate for governor says he doesn't think local police should enforce immigration law. But he supports a ballot measure that would kill an existing statute that says they can't.

local | News | Politics

'OPB Politics Now': The Intersection Of Star Power, Sports And Politics

OPB news director Anna Griffin and political reporters Lauren Dake and Dirk VanderHart explore the tricky intersection of sports, celebrity and politics on this week’s episode of OPB Politics Now.

local | News

Ruling Could Have A Big Impact On Anti-Camping Laws In The West

Portland officials say the city's controversial ordinance outlawing camping on public property isn't going anywhere.

local | News | Politics

Oregon Legislature Says Labor Bureau Can't Penalize It For Sexual Harassment Issues

A 35-page document filed Friday also seeks to rebuff claims that legislators allowed a culture of sexual harassment.

News | Politics

'OPB Politics Now': Teacher Turmoil And Sheriff’s Against Sanctuary Law

Southwest Washington’s teachers are on strike, and almost half of Oregon’s sheriff’s despise one of the country’s oldest sanctuary laws.