BEND, Ore. -

For many of us, Clackamas Town Center is a place we passed through, shopped for presents or grabbed a bite to eat. It brings the shooting that much closer to home.

I've been to that mall dozens of times, and never thought something like this would ever happen.

It's a familiar place for me and to a lot of my friends and family.

And it might be for you too.

A couple of my friends were at the mall during the shooting, and fortunately are okay.

When the news broke of a gunman inside Clackamas Town Center, I immediately, like so many others, checked my phone and Facebook to make sure my friends and family who live in the area were okay.  

But my Facebook timeline showed two of my friends were at the mall during the rampage, including one who wrote that she was in the back of a jewelry store with other shoppers and workers, and like so many, she didn't know what was going on.

Then, a couple hours later, another post describing her experience.

She had just left Macy's moments before the gunman started shooting on the second floor.

She heard numerous shots going off.

After staying in a storage bathroom for over an hour and a half, sheriff's deputies escorted her out to her car.  

Another friend was at the Ram Restaurant, just outside of Sears.

She was luckily away from the mayhem but was in lockdown.

For other friends who live in the area, they are still in disbelief.

"I never thought especially in this area of Portland, the suburbs of Portland, I've grown up in my entire life," said Kelsey Coffey, who lives near the mall.  

Coffey drives by the mall every day when she commutes to and from work.

But fortunately, she wasn't there at the time of the shooting.

"There was about an hour of complete panic mode," Coffey said. "Just because being that I grew up in that area, I could have a handful or two handfuls of people that I knew working at the mall or shopping at the mall or eating at the mall."

It's a situation many of us found ourselves in Tuesday afternoon.

Coffey said when she drove by the mall Wednesday morning, she had tears in her eyes. She said she didn't realize how affected she could be by this.

And she told me this just reiterates the fact that we all need to be aware of our surroundings, no matter what we are doing, no matter where we are at.