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Does Oregon need a new state flag?

DKH_07 For someone who writes about flags, this story is hot hot hot!

The State of Oregon celebrates its sesquicentennial next year (1859-2009), and The Oregonian newspaper in Portland has announced a contest to design a new flag for the state. It’s not sanctioned by the State of Oregon, but it’s a start.


Oregon flagsThe Oregon flag, like many state flags, uses the state seal on the obverse side. But unlike other flags, it has a beaver on the reverse side. Rendered in brilliant blue and gold, it’s chock-full of symbolism, but seen from a distance, the seal is just a golden blur. As for the beaver, it looks like a distant mountain, or collapsed bee skep.

Here’s the story from The Oregonian.


Should Oregon redesign the state flag? Want to give it a try?

 DKH_12by Michael Milstein, The Oregonian
Saturday October 18, 2008
Show us your new Oregon state flag design

Not to complain. Not to bring up a touchy subject when there’s so much economic gloom to worry about.

But could we talk for a moment about updating Oregon’s flag? It won’t cost a cent to consider it, and it might be a fun way to get people thinking about what makes Oregon so special. It could even save a few bucks. Our state turns 150 next year: The perfect occasion for Oregonians to fashion a flag as distinctive as the state itself.

Picture the eye-catching symbolism of the great U.S. flag that instantly stands out from miles away. Now picture Oregon’s: not so bad up close, but tough to decipher or distinguish at any distance.

Oregon is unique, beautiful and innovative and deserves a flag that is, too. Maybe you like our state flag. Let us know that, too. It deserves respect. But maybe you have some ideas that would make it even better.

Right now one of the few things that sets it apart is its price: roughly twice the cost of other state flags because of its unusual two-sided design. 

The rest of the story is at The Oregonian.

I have written before that after the Lone Star, the flag of New Mexico is one of the first flags I learned to recognize because it was so distinctive. All of my neighbor states have terrific flags, and I have written about the flags of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana here and here.

This will be a great story to follow, and maybe the state of Oregon will seriously consider a new flag that stands out in a crowd, yet reflects the history and traditions of Oregon. I wish them all success.

7 thoughts on “Does Oregon need a new state flag?

  1. […] October 20, The Daily Flag linked to this story in The Oregonian. Today there is an update, with some exciting news for […]

  2. As a (very) amateur flag nut, I was very excited when the Oregonian floated this idea. Managed to create and submit almost a dozen designs, and my twelve year old submitted one also. (Cost me $145 though. Robocop zapped me with his photoradar as I hurried to get the submissions in by the deadline. Doh!) I’m eager to see what my fellow citizens have come up with.
    If this flies, (this is Oregon, mind you: legal to kill yourself but illegal to pump your own gas) this should be pretty interesting to the vexillogical community.

  3. John, you really are excited about the idea of a new flag for Oregon! And it’s terrific that your son got involved too. I’m excited too, and look forward to viewing the entries—I’m assuming that the Oregonian will put them up on the internet. Sorry about the ticket, but what a great story you’ll have if one of your designs is chosen (it’s a good story now).

    Lots of flag nuts belong to NAVA—North American Vexillological Association. Check it out at

  4. The Oregonian today published a double page of some of the entries they received for the contest. (Hey, one of them mine!) These are just the also rans. The finalists will be published next Sunday. I really like some of the ones by little kids.
    I think this is all great fun, but a lot of the letters to the Oregonian have been very negative. While the winner will be submitted to the legislature, there is little likelihood that Oregon will actually end up with a new flag. Some people just don’t like even the suggestion of change.
    I’ll check out the NAVA site – thanks!

  5. John, I looked at the Oregonian website, but couldn’t find the flags. I guess they did not put them on the website. Glad to know one of them was yours. I bet they will put the winning entry on the website though, so I will pay close attention on Sunday.

  6. […] Daily Flag previously linked here and here, to The Oregonian’s articles about its contest to design a new state flag for […]

  7. Here are the ten finalists with vote totals (poll closed):

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