Oregon Legislator Wants Loitering At Clackamas Town Center To Test For Racial Profiling

By Erica Morrison (OPB)
Portland, Ore/ Sept. 24, 2019 1:30 p.m.

Oregon Rep. Janelle Bynum, D-Clackamas, wants her constituents to “loiter-in” at Clackamas Town Center.

The request comes after Bynum’s 17-year-old daughter said she was racially profiled at the mall.


Chrissy Bynum and two friends, all young women of color, were sitting in her car outside the mall Friday evening looking at their phones and trying to figure out what to do after one of the girls realized she left her identification at home and so wouldn’t be allowed into an R-rated movie.

“Go see how long it takes to be asked to leave the mall by mall security. Sit in the food court, sit in your car on the phone, sit on the benches. Report your experience here. My daughter, Chrissy, was accused of loitering too long at Clackamas Town Center on Friday,” Bynum wrote on her Facebook page.

Bynum’s daughter said that she and her friends had been sitting outside the mall for no more than 20 minutes when a third-party security company rolled up to them and demanded they leave.

“She believes she was racially profiled by a mall cop. Let's figure out if there's a difference between loitering or being the wrong color,” Bynum wrote on the “Loiter-In for Chrissy” Facebook event page.


OPB spoke to Bynum Monday afternoon after she met at Clackamas Town Center with the mall’s manager. She did not go into details about the meeting.

Following the meeting, she saw one of her constituents sitting in their car in the mall’s parking lot taking part in the loiter-in. “She said, ‘Hey Janelle, I’m here for you,'” Bynum said the woman told her as she waved her down.

Clackamas Town Center officials couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Last summer, Bynum was canvassing voters in her district when one of her constituents called the police on her. The encounter ended with Bynum and the officer taking a selfie, but it also attracted national attention. This spring, the Legislature passed a bill she'd written to penalize people for frivolously calling the police with a fine of up to $250.

Sharing America: A Public Radio Collaboration

Erica Morrison is part of the public radio collaborative “Sharing America,” covering the intersection of race, identity and culture. This new initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, includes reporters in the Northwest and Hartford, Connecticut, St. Louis and Kansas City. You can find more "Sharing America" coverage here.