Voting Ends 8/8 for Albany Flag Contest

In June we announced the launch of a process to find a flag for Albany, Oregon initiated by our fellow Oregonians at GUAVA (Greater Unified Albany Vexillological Association). Five finalists have been chosen and the public has been rating each on a scale of 0 (low) to 10 (high) at  This phase ends this Monday (8 August), so if you want to weigh in on the five contenders and haven’t yet, please do so soon!

Here renditions by graphic designer Steve Kodis (of People’s Flag of Milwaukee fame)  of what the flag designs would look like in flight, along with the “artist’s statement” for each.

The two green triangles represent Agriculture and Timber, their combined shape is a tree which represents Albany’s status as a tree city. The two blue stripes represent the Calapooia and Willamette rivers. The gray background represents rare metals and roads.

The triangle wedge on the hoist symbolizes the three names Albany has been called: Takena, New Albany and Albany, with the color green representing the nature and agriculture of Albany.

The 12 pointed star within a circle represents both how the 12 neighborhoods of Albany come together as one community, but it creates 12 white arrows that look inwards towards Albany for guidance as county seat and the Hub City.

The purple stripe is a symbol of Albany’s uniqueness as no current country or American state flag uses purple.

The blue stripe is a symbol of the Willamette River, upon which Albany was founded, and provided the bulk of Albany’s economy during the early years.

The grey stripe is the symbol of Albany being the rare metals capital of the world, upon which much of the current economy is based. The gray stripe also enforces Albany’s uniqueness, as it is a color used rarely in country and American state flags.

Title, ‘Confluence and Crossroads.’ The blue portions represent the confluence of the Calapooia and Willamette rivers. The gray portion represents Interstate 5 and Hwy 20 intersecting, a nod to our Hub City nickname; the gray is also representative of our metal industry. The green portion represents our agriculture, timber, and Tree City designation. The overall design forms an A representing Albany as well.

This flag has a Northwest color scheme of green, blue and black.

Green symbolized Albany’s place as the grass seed capital and its emerging filbert tree market.

Blue symbolizes the importance of the Willamette River and Calapoolia River in their role in establishing Albany and Kalapuya Tribe.

Black represents metal because Albany is the “rare metals capital of the world.”

The white bridge give this flag a landmark and ties in with other symbols currently in use throughout Albany.

The angle at the front of the flag symbolizes Albany’s location within the valley and looks like the slope of a roof of one of Albany’s many historic homes.

Drawing inspiration from the flag of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, in which the Kalapuya tribe was associated, this design silhouettes our city’s background. Using the colors yellow, reflecting wheat or grain, and blue, resembling our Willamette River, the logo is placed on a green background that represents the forests our state is known for.

A Flag for the Hub City of Oregon

Albany, Oregon wants to join the ranks of cities with flags.  Spurred by the vexillonaires of GUAVA (the Greater Unified Albany Vexillological Association), led by West Albany High School math teacher Cole Pouliot, the city is running a design contest through 5 pm Pacific Time on 5 July 2016.  The design contest winner will receive a $100 prize.

You can submit up to three entries by visiting

On that webpage you will find this primer on Albaniana:

What is Albany to you? Here are some facts to get started.

  • Albany is the county seat of Linn County, and the 11th largest city in the State of Oregon.
  • Albany is located in the Willamette Valley at the confluence of the Calapooia River and the Willamette River in both Linn and Benton counties.
  • Albany is credited by historians and architects with having the most varied collection of historic buildings in Oregon.
  • Albany, previously a primarily an agricultural and wood products manufacturing town, now calls itself the “rare metals capital of the world”, producing zirconium, hafnium and titanium.
  • Albany and the surrounding communities are major exporters of grass seed.
  • Albany’s easily accessible location along major roadways, railways, the Santiam-Albany Canal as well as the WIllamette and Calapooia Rivers cemented Albany’s original nickname of Oregon’s Hub City.

The flag contest presents an opportunity for Albany to adopt for the first time a symbol of its unique character and history, as it currently has only the generic Americana of its city seal.

For more on the contest and GUAVA, see the Albany Democrat-Herald article announcing the contest.

Derek Duman and Cole Pouliot presenting the GUAVA flag at last month’s PFA meeting.

Portland’s Flag Turns 13

Happy Portland Flag Day!  (Not yet an official holiday.)

Ted & Mason Kaye, Fred Paltridge, Doug Lynch, and John Hood
Ted & Mason Kaye, Fred Paltridge, Douglas Lynch, and John Hood with the newly-adopted Portland city flag at city hall, 2002.

On 4 September 2002, after lobbying by flag designer Douglas Lynch (1913-2009) and the Portland Flag Association, the Portland City Council adopted ordinance 176874, revising the flag to its current (and originally intended) design.  (For more on the redesign effort, see our History page.)

A stick flag showing the previous fdesign of Portland's flag, in (very limited) use 1970-2002.  A modification of Lynch's original design.
A stick flag showing the previous design of Portland’s flag, in (very limited) use 1970-2002. Lynch never liked this modification of his original design.

Over the course of its short 13 year existence, the revitalized flag has gone from a seldom-seen accoutrement of city government to a widely embraced symbol of the city, people, and culture of Portland.  Its enthusiastic adoption by the Timbers Army, a zealous group of fans supporting the city’s Major League Soccer team, was important in establishing the flag’s visibility and fashionability, as has the more recent decision by Portland Fire & Rescue to fly the flag along with the US flag from every fire station’s flagpole.

The US and Portland flags fly above Portland Fire & Rescue Station 5.  Photo by Scott Mainwaring.
The US and Portland flags fly above Portland Fire & Rescue Station 5. Photo by Scott Mainwaring.

Though crosses are commonly found on flags, Lynch’s design is unique.  It does however have some resemblance to other crossed flags.  As it is offset towards the left (hoist) side of the flag, it resembles a Nordic Cross, as found on the flags of Denmark, Iceland, etc. And as the arms come together to suggest counter-clockwise rotation, it resembles an ancient Celtic motif known as Brigid’s cross.

Brigid's cross, a pre-Christian symbol associated with the Celtic goddess Brigid.
Brigid’s cross, a pre-Christian symbol associated with the Celtic goddess Brigid.

However, Lynch did not intend either of these associations. Here is the official symbolism of the design:

The background shall be green, symbolizing the forests and our green City.  The design includes a four-pointed directional star, formed by the vertical and horizontal intersection of counterchanged light blue stripes, symbolizing our rivers.  The blue stripes are paralleled with yellow stripes, symbolizing agriculture and commerce. The yellow stripes are separated from the green background and the blue river stripes by white lines called fimbriations.

The flag of Portland, Oregon.  Designed by Doug Lynch.
The flag of Portland, Oregon. Designed by Douglas Lynch.

The Portland flag is inspirational in its strong design.  In a recent example, our friends at Vexillology Ireland have launched a campaign, citing the Portland flag as inspiration, to encourage the use of Brigid’s cross on flags.  They have a short video providing an excellent overview on the use of crosses on all sorts of flags.

The Flag of Gresham, Oregon

Flag gresham
Proportions 2:3
Adopted 24 July 1984
Design The flag is white and has the city seal in the center, with flowering lilac branches at each side.  The seal contains two concentric circles with an image of Mt. Hood in the center, reflected in a lake. Curved within the top part of the ring is the name “City of Gresham”. Curved in the lower part of the ring is the date “1905”, preceded and followed by three strawberries.  All decoration and printing on the flag is in lavender.
Symbolism Gresham was incorporated in 1905, and lies about 40 miles west-northwest of Mt. Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak.  Lilac is the official city flower.  Strawberry fields were once common in the area.
One of Gresham’s sister cities, Ebetsu, Japan, had given its flag to the city, and Mayor Margaret Weil wanted to return the favor by giving Ebetsu a Gresham flag when she next visited Japan.  Judy Wylie, a city employee, suggested the seal-and-lilacs design and worked with the secretary to the Finance Director, Jo Cunningham, who produced a sample sketch. (Ebitsu received its gift flag in 1984.)
Designer Judy Wylie conceived the design.  Jo Cunningham drew the artwork.
  • Researcher: Michael Orelove
  • Assistance from the City of Gresham: Teresa A. Hall, City Council Coordinator