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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.

Contact Dirk VanderHart

Recent Articles

News | local

Government Employees File Suit To Destabilize Oregon Union Payments

It's the second suit attacking "fair-share" payments in Oregon this year. And it comes days before an expected ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

News | Politics | local | Nation

ICE Temporarily Shutters Portland Facility Due To 'Occupy' Protest

The agency said it would resume operations "once security concerns have been addressed." Protesters have camped outside since Sunday.

News | Politics | local

Oregon Sen. Brian Boquist Sues Legislative Leaders Over Tax Bill

Oregon Sen. Brian Boquist filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state tax court. He says Democrats illegally passed a bill earlier this year. 

News | Politics | local

2 Oregon Democrats Kicked Off Party Committee After Endorsing Republican

State Sen. Betsy Johnson and Rep. Brad Witt say they're surprised anyone still cares about the 2016 endorsement.

News | Politics | local | Nation

Portland Demonstrators Protest Child Separations By 'Occupying' ICE

A group of protesters has camped outside of an ICE outpost in Portland, blocking cars and drawing support. 

News | Politics | local

Oregon Supreme Court Fast-Tracks Gun Control Petition

Supporters of the proposal had been bracing for weeks of delay. Instead, the court ruled they can begin collecting signatures immediately.

News | Politics | Election | local

After Late Hurdles, Oregon Gun Control Proposal Might Come Up Short

The initiative likely won't have time to collect 88,000 valid signatures. Supporters are planning an announcement next week. 

News | Politics

'OPB Politics Now': Oregon’s Potential Ballot Fight Over Abortion

Of all the ballot fights Oregonians could expect later this year, abortion may be the most surprising.

News | Business | local

Josephine County Suffers Setback In Its Cannabis Crackdown

Josephine County officials have suffered a setback in an ongoing effort to crack down on cannabis grows in the county — but a far weightier fight is still in play.

News | Politics | Election | local | Nation

As Ohio Purges Voter Rolls, Oregon Is Going In The Other Direction

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson says he'll push to end the practice of purging inactive voters. 

News | local

Multnomah County DA Releases Grand Jury Transcripts In Elifritz Case

The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office released grand jury transcripts Monday into the shooting death of John Elifritz, a man killed by police at a Portland homeless shelter in April.

News | Politics | Election | local

As Grocers Seek Shelter From New Oregon Taxes, Opponents Warn Of Chaos

The anti-tax proposal is likely to make November's ballot. Some believe its impact would be felt far beyond the grocery aisle. 

News | Politics | local

Oregon Secretary Of State Dennis Richardson Has Brain Cancer

Richardson revealed he has a small brain tumor via an online newsletter. He says he's optimistic. 

News | Politics | local | Nation

Martha Lee Walters Will Become Oregon's 1st-Ever Female Chief Justice

Walters will take the reins of Oregon's highest court in July.

News | Water | Environment | local

Toxins Decrease In Salem's Water, But More Apologies From City Officials

A drinking water advisory in Salem could be lifted this weekend. Rumblings of the chaos the warning caused will linger.

News | Water | Health | local

Oregon Governor Deploys National Guard, Declares Salem Water Situation Emergency

Oregon National Guard troops will bring large water tanks to Salem. The attorney general plans to investigate reports of price-gouging for bottled water. 

News | local | Environment | Water | Health

Agencies Taking 'Abundance Of Caution' After Toxins Found In Salem Water

Agencies say they're acting out of an abundance of caution as they wait for new test results that are expected to arrive Thursday.

News | Politics | local

'OPB Politics Now': Follow The Money

On "OPB’s Politics Now" podcast, OPB political reporters Jeff Mapes and Dirk VanderHart, along with Hillary Borrud of The Oregonian/OregonLive, bring you inside the special session on a business tax break.  

News | Politics | local

Ethics Commission Shouldn't Opine On Oregon Special Session, Director Says

Sen. Brian Boquist had asked the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to opine on whether Governor Kate Brown called the session as an election stunt. 

News | local

Man Shot At Portland Homeless Shelter Moved Toward Officers With Knife, Video Shows

Nearly 700 pages of documents from an internal Police Review Board review show John Elifritz sustained nine gunshot wounds and had sliced his own neck.