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Suspicious Neighbor Calls 911 on Legislator Visiting Constituents

A local lawmaker running for re-election was going door-to-door to check in with members in her district when she got a surprise visit from a local deputy.

According to the story in The Oregonian, State Rep. Janelle Bynum was taking note on her smartphone of her previous conversation when she noticed the deputy in his patrol car, along the other side of southeast 125th Avenue. Officer Campbell asked if she was selling something, which gave Bynum an opportunity to introduce herself as a state legislator.

In an attempt to make some sense of the situation, Bynum asked to get in touch with the suspicious neighbor. They eventually spoke on the phone, and the neighbor apologized. Audio from the 911 call revealed that the neighbor initially felt Bynum had "no apparent reason" to be walking from house to house, despite the fact that she had campaign flyers on her person. When the call-taker asked the neighbor if she'd talked to Bynum, she felt that Bynum was avoiding her, despite the fact that Bynum had spoken to her 3-year-old son.

Both Bynum and Campbell left in good spirits, and eventually posed together for a selfie. But Bynum was still surprised that after visiting an estimated 70,000 homes as part of her previous campaign, there were still constituents who would rather call the police than attempt to engage her in conversation.

"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."

Potential Preaching Angles: Conflict; Communication; Mistrust; Disunity—Sometimes the best way to get through conflict and mistrust is to meet face-to-face and talk.

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