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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

News | local | Politics

Oregon House Speaker Shuffles Committees After Conduct Complaints

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek changed committee assignments for Reps. Mitch Greenlick and Bill Post following complaints over their conduct.

News | local | Politics

Oregon Republicans Demand A Veteran Democrat Lose Committee Position

Democratic Rep. Mitch Greenlick suggested a pharmaceutical representative was "stupid" on Tuesday. Republicans say he's made them feel unsafe.

Environment | News | Energy | Politics | local

Bill To Stymie Offshore Drilling Passes Oregon Senate

The bill is a response to the Trump administration's embrace of coastal energy exploration. It's also mostly symbolic. No one has drilled off the Oregon coast since 1964.

News | local | Politics | Health

Governor's Plan To Plug Oregon Health Care Shortfall Faces Uncertainty

A $380 million package moved forward on Friday, but the hard part is yet to come. 

Environment | News | local | Politics

Thoughts On Cap And Trade? Oregon Lawmakers Want To Hear Them

Hearings on a cap-and-trade proposal in the Oregon Legislature are scheduled in Springfield, Medford, The Dalles and Bend. The bill aims to curb carbon emissions.

Election | News | local | Politics

Oregon Progressive Group Faces Steep Fines For Ballot Gaffe

Defend Oregon, one of Oregon's most powerful political groups, might have to pay nearly $100,000 for failing to turn in ballots on time.

News | local | Politics | Health

Oregon House Speaker: Tobacco Industry Shares Blame For Offensive Statement

House Speaker Tina Kotek said the tobacco lobby has pushed connections between the death of Eric Garner and cigarette taxes. 

News | local | Politics | Health

Amid Measles Outbreak, Oregon Lawmaker Readies Bill To End Vaccine Exemptions

State Rep. Mitch Greenlick wants to kill a policy that lets parents skip vaccines for non-medical reasons.

News | Nation | local | Politics

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown: Virginia's Embattled Governor Should Resign

"It's appalling, all of it," Brown told reporters Thursday. "He should resign."

News | Food | local

Liquor Deliveries Might Be On Their Way To Oregon

The state Legislature is considering letting courier services bring hard alcohol to your door. 

News | local | Politics

Gov. Kate Brown Pitches Bill To Sidestep Trump's Environmental Changes

Supporters say the idea would safeguard Oregon. Detractors say it will drain state resources. 

News | local | Politics

'OPB Politics Now:' Back To Work In The Oregon Legislature

In this week's episode of 'OPB Politics Now', OPB news director Anna Griffin and OPB political reporters Dirk VanderHart and Jeff Mapes talk cap and trade and plastic straws, plus take a look at ways to make the Pacific Northwest more relevant in the 2020 presidential race.

Environment | News | local | Politics

Oregon Lawmakers Unveil Their Plan To Curb Carbon Emissions

Democrats want to move quickly on a new cap-and-trade proposal to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans are hoping to slow the legislation. Here's what the policy looks like.

Environment | News | local | Politics

Oregon Could Become The 2nd State To Regulate Plastic Straws

When it comes to plastic straws, will Oregon lawmakers follow Portland's or California's example?

Economy | local | Politics | News

Early In Legislative Session, Oregon's Justice System Is Clamoring Loudest

Lawmakers have pledged to focus on schools and health care this year, but judges, public defenders, and state troopers want help, too.

News | local | Politics

Oregon Lawmakers Are Preparing For Another Federal Shutdown

A new bill would allow the state to pay unemployment benefits to federal workers forced to keep working during a shutdown.

Economy | local | Politics | News

Oregon Supreme Court Could Beat Gov. Brown To Campaign Finance Change

In an exceedingly rare move, the Oregon Supreme Court this week agreed to fast-track a case that proponents hope will let the state limit campaign contributions. 

News | local | Politics

1 Day Of 2019 Legislative Session Down, 1 Complaint To Oregon Police Filed

Democratic Rep. Mark Meek says someone sent emails impersonating him, and excoriating other Democrats' gun control proposals.

News | local | Politics

Oregon Legislative Preview: Democrats In Charge With Ambitious Agenda

The 2019 session of the Oregon Legislature kicks off Jan. 22. With Gov. Kate Brown's re-election and new supermajorities in both chambers, Democrats will bring an ambitious agenda to the Capitol.

News | local | Politics

'OPB Politics Now': Oregon Legislative Preview

The Oregon Legislature takes up a jam-packed agenda when it gets underway next week. We’ll give you a quick rundown of the major issues.