Oregon state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D) was canvassing her constituents in Clackamas, outside Portland, on Tuesday when a Clackamas County sheriff's deputy pulled up alongside, she told The Oregonian on Wednesday. The deputy told Bynum, who is black and running for a second term, that a woman had called to report her for apparently canvassing the neighborhood while on her phone. Bynum, 43, said she has knocked on probably 70,000 doors over her years of campaigning, and this was the first time someone has called the cops on her. She told The Oregonian that the deputy was courteous, professional, and agreed to take a selfie with her.
Bynum got the deputy to call the woman who reported her, and she and the woman spoke. The woman, whose race Bynum said she did not know, was apologetic and said she called 911 out of concern for her neighborhood's safety. "It was just bizarre," Bynum told The Oregonian, adding she wished the lady had spoken to her instead of calling the police. "It boils down to people not knowing their neighbors and people having a sense of fear in their neighborhoods, which is kind of my job to help eradicate. But at the end of the day, it's important for people to feel like they can talk to each other to help minimize misunderstandings."