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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

Politics | News | local

Should Oregon's Death Penalty Law Be Re-Tweaked? Key Lawmakers Disagree

Sen. Floyd Prozanski said the Legislature should be convened to fix the bill. Rep. Jennifer Williamson said the bill is already working.

News | local

Portland Police Arrest At Least 13 In Downtown Portland Rally

Demonstrations in downtown Portland were largely non-violent Saturday as the two opposing groups stayed mostly separated.

Politics | News | local

'OPB Politics Now': Fallout From The 2019 Oregon Legislative Session

It feels like the Oregon legislative session just ended, but we are already seeing the fallout from some of the laws that passed. 

Politics | Election | News | local

Former Congressional Hopeful McLeod-Skinner To Launch Oregon Secretary Of State Bid

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democrat who ran for Rep. Greg Walden's congressional seat, is the first entrant in what could be a hotly contested race for an open statewide seat in Oregon. 

Politics | News | local

New Oregon Death Penalty Rules Affect Old Cases, DOJ Finds

Oregon lawmakers had sought to ensure a new law limiting capital punishment had no impact on old cases. A recent Washington County ruling suggests they failed. 

Land use | local | Politics | Business | Water | Climate change | Renewable energy | Agriculture | News | Environment

Oregon Governor Preserves Dam Money, Irrigation Bill At Veto Deadline

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown decided not to veto money for a dam project in Newport nor a bill easing ditch-clearing rules for irrigators.

Politics | Nation | News | local

'OPB Politics Now:' Oregon's Gun Control Debate

Major gun legislation failed in Salem during the 2019 legislative session. Yet, the recent horrific mass shootings have once again prompted the gun control debate to take center stage.

Politics | News | local

Paid Ballots And More Disclosure Are Coming To Oregon Elections

Gov. Kate Brown on Friday signed a raft of bills aimed at making voting easier, and helping Oregonians understand who's funding political ads. 

Politics | News | local

Gov. Kate Brown Signs Bill Narrowing Oregon Death Penalty

Senate Bill 1013 sharply reduces the crimes punishable by death in Oregon. 

Politics | Business | Election | News | local

Opponents Scrap Campaign To Refer New $1B Business Tax To Oregon Voters

In an email to supporters, the group Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce said lawmakers had stacked the deck against its effort.

Politics | News | local

Oregon Republicans Begin Effort To Recall Gov. Kate Brown

In order to force a recall election, the Oregon GOP needs to collect more than 280,000 valid signatures in three months. 

Politics | News | local

Oregon Senate Leaders Sending $3,500 Invoices To Republicans For Walkout

After determining it could not dock Republicans' pay, Senate leadership is sending $3,500 invoices for a June walkout. 

Politics | News | local

Legislative Staffer Was Overlooked Because Of Ethnicity, Complaint Says

A newly released investigation found many of Mazen Malik's claims of discrimination unfounded. Legislative committees will take the matter up this month. 

Politics | News | local

Oregon Sen. Brian Boquist Must Give Notice Before Entering Capitol, Committee Finds

The findings by a Senate conduct committee Monday are an interim step while an investigation into remarks by Boquist plays out.

Politics | Nation | News | local

Triumphs And Bruising Battles Made Oregon’s 2019 Legislative Session One For The Books

2019 saw one of the most dramatic and impactful legislative sessions anyone in the Capitol can recall — one marked by stark extremes.

Politics | News | local

OPB Politics Now: The Wild, Weird 2019 Oregon Legislature

On a special episode of OPB Politics Now, we’ll look at how the 2019 legislature has changed life for Oregonians. 

Politics | News | local

Oregon Legislative Session Concludes In Tense Final Day

Democrats wound up passing many of their top priorities in 2019, but relationships in the Capitol suffered. 

Politics | News | local

Lawmaker's Comments About Oregon State Police Continue To Roil Senate

Democratic state senators have asked that Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, stay off the Senate floor. He said Sunday he is not a threat.

Politics | News | local

Oregon Senator Faces Conduct Complaint After Walkout

A complaint against Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, will be considered by the Oregon Senate's conduct committee in coming weeks. 

Politics | News | local

As Republicans Return, Oregon Senate Moves At Blistering Pace

Nine of the Oregon Senate's 12 Republicans showed up to the chamber floor for the first time in 10 days with more than 100 bills on the docket.