December 2016 Roundup

Roundup is a regular feature of the Vexilloid Tabloid newsletter, collecting various flag-related items of note.

Portland hosted the trial of the armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeaster Oregon.  In Chapman Square, in front of the US District Courthouse, supporters maintained a vigil, including this boy hoisting the national flag as a symbol of  distress.  In a surprise verdict, the defendants were acquitted.

Protesting in downtown Portland in support of the Malheur occupiers.

Our Croatian colleague, Lt. Col. Željko Heimer, has turned his PhD dissertation into a book, with editorial help from Ted Kaye.  It’s available on demand at

Heimer’s Exploring Vexillology through Military Unit Flags

How to represent surfer-pirates   on a flag?  Catlin Gabel School’s annual 8th-grade Gilbert & Sullivan operetta—this year Pirates of Penzance—replaced pirates and policemen with surfers and lifeguards, using a flag designed in a group effort led by Danny Lezak.

The surfer-pirate flag in Catlin Gabel School’s Pirates of Penzance.

John Niggley’s mother celebrated her 76th birthday on 18 Sept. 2016; John honored the event with the Bennington Flag.

Veteran Michael Orelove stands in front of his flag display at the Columbia Gorge Kiwanis Club Veterans Day appreciation pancake breakfast held in Corbett. Among the flags was the 15–star 15–stripe flag.  While Michael has been downsizing, he has retained a large number of flags, which he shares with the community and school groups.

A golf ball with 32 national flags in pentagons and hexagons.

Flag Change in Columbia, South Carolina

by Ted Kaye

Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina, could really use a change of topic when it comes to flags.

As the focal point for display of the Confederate Battle Flag in the South, the city hosted a turning point in the fractious debate, with the removal of the flag from the Confederate Monument in front of the capitol, in July 2015, by order of Governor Nikki Haley.

Calls for the flag’s removal had intensified since the murder of nine people in the Charleston church shooting the month before.

The flag had flown from a pole next to the monument, surrounded by a concrete deck and a small fence.  Within a day of the decision to remove it, all of that was gone and sod was being laid in its place.

The most visible event associated with the flag was its lowering two weeks before as an act of civil disobedience by a young African-American filmmaker, Brittany Ann “Bree” Newsome, whose pole-climb went viral and won praise from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Activist Bree Newsome capturing the Confederate flag on the SC state house grounds, as interpreted by Rebecca Cohen. [Museum May/June 2016]
I visited Columbia in 2009 in conjunction with NAVA 43 (Charleston), and then again this year.  That provided an opportunity to see the monument before (with flag) and after (without flag).

The Columbia Design League and the local arts-commission equivalent had invited me in September to speak about flag design and how the city flag might be improved.

Columbia’s flag has served the city for more than a century, but it represents a bygone era (corn and cotton) with an outdated, ineffective design (a seal on a bedsheet).

Local leaders have begun an effort to consider updating the flag as part of reclaiming civic pride and improving the branding of the city.  A large group came together at the Columbia Museum of Art for a workshop to learn about flag design and discuss ideas for change.

Perhaps this new flag topic will bring positive attention to Columbia.  It may well show how flags are far more than designs on bits of cloth, and can serve a community as a unifying symbol.


November 2016 Flutterings

Flutterings is a regular feature in our Vexilloid Tabloid newsletter, providing highlights from our last meeting.

In our November meeting, hosted by Fred Paltridge and his fiancée Willow Washburn in their new home, 11 PFA members enjoyed a lively 3+ hour evening of flags.  In the usual role of the host, Fred moderated the discussion.

Host Fred Paltridge (with Willow) moderates the discussion.

Fred compared the red and white checks of arms of the royal families of Croatia (past) and Monaco.

Ted Kaye passed around newspaper clippings with flags as photo subjects, Željko Heimer’s new book which he’d edited, and Portland city flag pins, recently arrived from the vendor.

He also posed the most recent flag quiz to the members, described a visit to Columbia, S.C., and shared some full-size flags from his collection, including those of the Saami nation, Ukraine (a gift from the Antarctic base commander), Western Ukraine (a gift from business colleagues), and a hospitality flag used by European hotels (comprising 16 country flags).

Ted Kaye stumps the crowd with the flag of Western Ukraine (a long-ago gift from software development vendor colleagues in Lviv) as Joyce Gifford looks on.

David Koski anticipated the upcoming “Civil War” football game between the University of Oregon (Ducks) and Oregon State University (Beavers), wondering how to create a “flag for ambivalent people” who support both or neither side—perhaps using a platypus? He also posed a question for Roman Mars: does he have a personal flag?

David Koski

John Schilke reflected on his recent office cleaning, where he mostly just moved items around and gave away a few things…but kept his flag books!

John Schilke

William Gifford brought a 1976 bicentennial flag set with 48 historic flags and an explanatory booklet, marketed by Von’s and created by the Golden State Display Mfg. Co. in N. Hollywood.  He’d bought it recently from an antique shop after it was left out in the rain.

William Gifford arranges 48 historic flags sold by Von’s stores during 1976.


Michael Orelove described how he gave away his burgee collection to the local Sea Scouts.

Michael Orelove shows the one burgee he retained in his collection—from the Royal Yacht Club, Suffolk, UK.

Ken Dale described the rededication of the memorial to Larry Dahl, a Medal of Honor winner from Clackamas County, just before Veterans Day, and related the experiences of his aunt, a nurse during WW2.

Ken Dale describes Clackamas County’s only Medal of Honor winner.

Joyce Gifford related how when the San Francisco Zoo needed 5,000 4”x6” California state flags for the opening of its bear exhibit on extremely short notice, the Giffords’ Chinese source ran its factory day and night for two days to complete the order on time.

Jessie Spillers presented his recent learnings about the history and flags of Newfoundland, and described the most recent Big Bang Theory “Fun with Flags” episode.

Jessie Spillers describes the history of Newfoundland and its flags.

David Ferriday showed some recent acquisitions, including a  folk art U.S. flag with 8 stars and 9 stripes, a Betsy Ross House print which he gave to Fred & Willow, and an Irish city flag.

David Ferriday unveils the flag of the Irish town of Loch Garman (Wexford), in County Wexford’s colors.

Erick Watkins, inspired by the flag of Cyprus, jokingly proposed a new flag for Portland, with its map silhouette and two “green stags”.

Erick Watkins shows what a Cyprus-inspired Portland flag might look like.

Our next meeting will be at the home of Jessie Spillers on Jan. 12.  Jessie took the Portland Flag Association flag home with him—the customary task of the next host.

The PFA flag

Vexilloid Tabloid #61

Our December 2016 newsletter features:

  • Whitney Smith, 1940-2016
  • Flag Change in Columbia, South Carolina (Ted Kaye)
  • The Fleur-de-Lis: From Lys to Lis, or from Flower to Emblem (Patrice de La Condamine)
  • Vexiday: The First World Vexillology Day (Scott Mainwaring)
  • Michael Orelove’s Burgees Make Port (Michael Orelove)

And, as always, notes from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news, the flag quiz, and what the Portland flag has been  up to lately.