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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 | Election | News | Politics

Oregon DOJ Declines To Investigate Ballot Deal Cut By Gov. Kate Brown

Brown brokered a deal between union officials and large corporations. Justice officials say there's no evidence of criminality. 

local | News | Politics

Attorney Named In Harassment Complaint Is Oregon Legislature’s New Investigator

Dian Rubanoff strenuously denies allegations she gave interns incorrect advice about their ability to sue the Legislature over claims of sexual harassment.

local | News | Politics

'OPB Politics Now': Fresh Batch of Controversy In The Oregon Statehouse

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has accused legislative leaders of permitting a culture that downplays harassment and overlooks victims.

local | News | Politics

After Bombshell Complaint, Capitol Officials Push Back

House Speaker Tina Kotek and others issued denials in response to a civil rights complaint accusing them of permitting sexual harassment.

local | News | Politics

Complaint Alleges Gov. Kate Brown's Ballot Deal Was Illegal

The man who filed the election complaint against the governor and others last week says he didn't write it — and he won't say who did.

local | Nation | News | Politics

Oregon Prison Must Continue Allowing Access to ICE Detainees, Judge Rules

Attorneys say that access has resulted in positive outcomes for their clients. 

Economy | Business | local | Nation | News | Politics

How A Fight Over Unions Could Change The Direction Of Oregon Politics

A Supreme Court ruling creates a question for Oregon's powerful government unions: Can they keep their members?


'OPB Politics Now': The Fight Over Oregon’s Unions

It’s a new world for the powerful public employee unions in Oregon now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled states can’t require public employees to pay dues to unions that represent them in the workplace.

local | Environment | News

Substation Fire Now Nation's Top Firefighting Priority

The man who killed by exposure to the Substation Fire burning east of The Dalles died while trying to save a neighboring property, the Wasco County Sheriff's Office has confirmed. 

local | News | Politics

'Dark Money' In An Oregon DA Race Linked To Facebook Cofounder

The new Accountable Justice Action Fund bankrolled nearly $700,000 in spending for Washington County DA candidate Max Wall. It doesn't have to disclose its donors.

local | News | Politics

Measure To Repeal Oregon's Sanctuary Law Makes November Ballot

Initiative Petition 22 would scrap Oregon's longstanding  protections for undocumented immigrants. Opponents have vowed to battle the measure. 

local | News

Portland Officials Won't Crack Down On ICE Fence, After All

After issuing a violation notice Monday, the city now says it's taking a "hands-off" approach to a fence encircling the Portland ICE building.

local | News | Politics | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Trump Pardons Eastern Oregon Ranchers Sentenced For Arson

Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden says he’s applauding the presidential pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond, whose sentencing was being protested by the 2016 Malheur occupation in Eastern Oregon.

local | Nation | History | Communities | News

Fence Surrounding Portland's ICE Building Not Built To Code, City Says

Federal officials built the structure to keep out protesters. But they didn't get permits. 


Campaign Spending Limits Could Be Coming to Portland Ballot

Multnomah County voters passed the same changes in 2016, but their legality is unclear. 

News | Politics

Governors of Oregon, Washington Demand Answers on Family Reunifications

Govs. Kate Brown and Jay Inslee have joined with four other leaders in a stinging letter to the Trump administration.

local | News | Politics

Former Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes Files For Bankruptcy

Hayes owes sizable legal fees after a court fight with The Oregonian/OregonLive and could face steep ethics penalties.

local | Water | News

Nearly 100 Oregon Water Systems Will Test For Toxins Plaguing Salem's Water

The Oregon Health Authority issued the new temporary rules on Friday. 

local | News | Politics

8 Protesters Arrested As Federal Authorities Work To Reopen Portland ICE Building

Federal agents Thursday morning arrested nine protesters involved in the occupation outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Southwest Portland.

local | Election | News | Politics

Oregon Gun-Control Proposal Might Be Out Of Time To Make Ballot

The Oregon Supreme Court court declined to approve ballot language for the proposal, likely dooming supporters hopes of making history in the state.