INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Updating The Portland Flag’s Specs

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1Portland Flag Association PublicationPortland Flag Association“Free, and Worth Every Penny!”Issue 48 October 2014Updating the Portland Flag’s SpecsINSIDE THIS ISSUE:Updating Portland Flag’s Specs1A Flag Illusion After Scotland?2Patriotic Colors Raising Alaska3September 2014 Flutterings4White Flags6Tribal Art at PAM8The Flag Quiz9Portland Flag Miscellany10Next Meeting10www.portlandflag.orgBy Ted KayeIt’s official! Portland has formallyupdated the specifications of ourcity flag. On September 3rd,the city council unanimouslyapproved Ordinance #186794.It amends the city code, Section1.06, to accomplish two goals:1) replace outdated Ameritonecolor references with Pantonenumbers, and 2) correct theheights of the quadrants of theflag (so the internal measurementsadd to the overall 36-unit height).The updated colors are: White,PMS 279 (Blue); PMS 349(Green); and PMS 1235 (Yellow)(see VT #40). The quadrants arenow 9.5 and 14.5 units high(formerly 8.5 and 13.5). Theseplus the stripes make 36 units.Flags are a brave sightbut no true eye ever wentby one steadily.— Emily DickinsonThis success reflects the hardwork and dedication of SusanHartnett and Erik Olson of theOffice of Finance and Management. They asked me to checkthe ordinance language and totestify on its behalf. Their effortfollowed negotiating the licensingof the Portland flag for soccermerchandising (see VT #45).The change comes just a year afterthis column asked about “Updatingthe Portland Flag’s Specs?”—withthat important question mark ending the title (see VT #41). Nowthe question mark has been erased!The next steps for the council maybe providing enhanced internaldirection to bureaus about the flag,through 1) a style/usage guide(how, when, and where to fly theflag properly; how to portray it invarious media; and creating a flaglibrary of electronic files for usersto access), and 2) encouragementto fly it broadly. Chicago actuallyhas a law requiring all municipalbuildings to fly its flag—the recentinitiative to fly Portland’s flag on all30 fire stations is a wonderful start.As these steps proceed, all PFAmembers can lend their voices insupport. We will stay in touch withcity staff.Did You Know?The Vexilloid Tabloid serves not onlythe 30 members of the Portland FlagAssociation, but also reaches over100 other interested vexillologists in25 different countries.If you wish to compliment the editor, or to contribute in the future, contact Ted Kaye at503-223-4660 or If you wish to complain, call your mother.

2The Vexilloid TabloidA Flag IllusionStare at the dot in the center ofthis unusually-colored flag for 60seconds. Do not move your eyes.Then stare at a white wall or ablank sheet of paper, or close youreyes and tilt your head up.You’ll see a ghostly version of theUnion Flag in correct colors.It’s an example of an “afterimage”.When you keep looking at thecolors in the flag, your eye getstired and the cells in your eye stopresponding to the colors. Whenyou look away from the flag, yourbrain says, “Hey, I'm not gettingany signals that this color is blue,so it must be red.”“Stare at the center star until your patriotism increases.”(Sources: jpg)After Scotland.What?Zev Landes, a member of the FlagSociety of Australia and a subscriber to the Vexilloid Tabloid, offers hisown humorous take on the possible unintended consequences ofScottish independence. He is anaccomplished cartoonist and ardentvexillologist.Scotland’s referendum took placeon September 18, and the results(55% no–45% yes) mean that the“flag question”—for the UnionFlag and its progeny, remains unanswered. However, it may be expected that New Zealand, at least,will be in the forefront of potentialnational flag change, and perhapsAustralia—site of the next ICV in2015—at some point in the future.October 2014

Portland Flag Association Publication3What is the Most Patriotic Color?.asked Time Magazine in its“Answers Issue”, Sept. 8–15, 2014.After downloading images of 196national flag from,Time added up the number of pixelsof each color, simplified them, andgrouped them into categories ofwhite, black, red, blue, green, andyellow using a simple algorithm.Time thus determined the frequency of colors by area in nationalflags. Although perhaps flawed indetail, overall it is a sound analysis.Red: 31%Blue: 21%White: 18%Green: 15%Yellow: 10%Black: 5%( the Alaska State Flagby Michael OreloveEach year at my home in GreshamI raise a flag in my “flower bed”.This year I am raising the Alaskastate flag.Alaska’s flag: “Eight stars of goldon a field of blue ”His submission won unanimouslyand was adopted on May 2, 1927.John Ben “Bennie” Benson, Jr., a13-year-old Aleut boy, created thedesign for the state flag contest.I’ve added a double star to myown Alaska flag to make myversion “astronomically correct”.However, as an amateur astronomer I know that the state flag isnot quite correct. The Alaska flagdisplays the Big Dipper plus theNorth Star. Most depictions ofthe Big Dipper show seven stars.However, the second “star” in itshandle is actually a multiple-starsystem. To the keen unaided eye,or through binoculars or a telescope, two stars can be seen—thebrighter, 2nd-magnitude Mizar andthe fainter, 4th-magnitude Alcornearby. Being able to discern thetwo as separate stars is considereda proof of good eyesight.Alaska’s official state song, Alaska’sFlag, begins with a description ofThe Alaska flag in Michael Orelove’s “flower bed”. The blue flowers are lobelia,(“Crystal Palace”); the second star is correctly depicted as a multiple-star system.

4The Vexilloid TabloidSeptember 2014 Flutterings You Need to KnowIn our September meeting, hostedby Larry Snyder, 16 PFA membersenjoyed a lively evening of flagsand other wide-ranging topics.As the host, Larry moderated theevent, welcoming new faces andshowing many flags from his boating experience.Michael Orelove updated us onhis “write and get flags” educationproject, showing the latest national,government agency, and yacht clubflags he’s received (8 so far). Larrydonated several used burgees toMichael’s burgeoning collection.Scott Mainwaring introduced his“Flags and Art” Facebook page(he welcomes contributions) anddiscussed the recent white-flagson-the Brooklyn-Bridge incidentand other similar white flags,including those of Portuguese artistJoão Felino (see p. 6). He also gaveanswers to the VT quiz (see p. 7).By deconstructing an actual flag, Michael Orelove (L) demonstrates thatWashington’s obverse is actually the mirror image of its reverse.Dave Anchel recently enjoyedcycling the “Tour de Lab” (amulti-pub bicycle tour), and notedsignificantly more Portland cityflags flying around town. Heshared a book on Civil War flagsfrom his home state of Pennsylvania, and announced a generousspecial discount for PFA members at Elmer’s Flag & Banner—20% off all stock merchandiseplus other benefits (not for resale,please!). We’re very grateful.John Niggley hearkened back toMissouri and a special civil war flag,as well as the “barn flags” of BatesCounty, Mo. He also waved a specially-licensed World Cup banner.In honor of the date, 9/11, KenDale read his letter to Dear Abbyabout respect for the flag, published after seeing tattered flags inthe months after our country’s2001 patriotic flag-flying surge.Carl Larson described a store inClayton, NY (near Ontario) whichsells used maritime flags salvagedfrom shipbreakers, and showedoff some of his best purchases.“Zulu” says Carl Larson, showing oneof many maritime flags he’s acquired.October 2014Ted Kaye reported on the flagspecification updates to the Portland City Code (see p. 1), sharedTime’s national color analysis (seep. 3), and related his recent interviews on’s “The Gist”.Lindsey Matson delves into the worldof alternative flags.

Portland Flag Association PublicationDavid Koski brought up the proposed “Six Californias” initiative,now hoped for the 2016 ballot, andwondered what the flags of those“new states” might look like.David Ferriday shared his usualmiscellany of flag items, andshowed photos of a recent visit tothe Nike campus, with around 45national flags flying.Keryn Anchel baked cupcakes inthe colors of the PFA and the Portland flag. She began a discussionof the potential impact of Scottishindependence on the Union Flag,and on other flags that bear it, suchas New Zealand or Hawaii.5Lindsey Matson, a social workerwhen not at working at Elmer’s,had set some of her teenaged girlclients—all on parole or probation and representing manyethnicities—to describe in writingtheir feelings about flags, whichshe then read. The results provedvery intriguing, with strong emotions expressed—pro and con.Cupcakes in the PFA / Portland flagcolors, courtesy of Keryn Anchel.Our next meeting will be at thehome of Michael Orelove, onNovember 13th. A suggestion,since our numbers have grown:a voluntary limit of 10 minutesper person. Let’s aim for that!David Ferriday (L) and historic flags.Max Liberman followed up withmore discussion of the Union Flagwithout Scotland, and shared several proposals for a revised version.Patrick Genna showed off his latestGoodwill purchases, coincidentallyincluding a Union Flag which supported the extensive conversationabout Scotland, and its referendumto be held a week later (see p. 2).John Niggley recalls the recent 2014FIFA World Cup with a licensed flag.Larry Snyder designed the flag forU.S. Power Squadron District 32.In the evening’s most popular topic, Patrick Genna explains the history of theUnion Flag and explores the vexillographic implications of Scottish independence.A Pennsylvania native, Dave Ancheldescribes the flags of the Civil Warheld in its capitol’s collection.

6The Vexilloid TabloidWhite FlagsBy Scott MainwaringColor is so elemental in flag designthat colors is a synonym for flag.Recently, however, all-white flagshave been in the news due to twoBerlin artists, Matthias Wermke andMischa Leinkauf. In the wee hoursof July 22 they evaded police surveillance to replace each 10-by-19foot U.S. flag atop both towers ofthe Brooklyn Bridge with all-whiteversions of their own making.New Yorkers awoke to this strangespectacle, and quickly began jokingabout surrender.Wermke and Leinkauf are not theonly artists to produce all-whiteAmerican flags. I’ve come acrossat least three precedents. Earliest isJasper Johns’ monumental 1955painting White Flag, now in the permanent collection at New York’sMetropolitan Museum of Art. Another is the flag James Cross painted white, photographed, and submitted to a 1986 design exercise byKit Hinrichs. Third, like Wermkeand Leinkauf and at roughly thesame time, Portuguese artist JoãoFelino fabricated and displayed anThe Wermke-Leinkauf flags over theBrooklyn Bridge, 2014.October 2014Jasper Johns, White Flag, 1955.all-white U.S. flag as one of many“de-colored” national flags in his“Flags of the World” project.These artworks are all, in theirown ways, meditations on theideas of liberty and possibility.They use white not as the colorof surrender, but as the absenceof color—so startling in the caseof the U.S. flag that it forces adouble-take. They make us askanew, “what does this mean?”Jasper Johns’ painting is a majormilestone in the history of modern art, a force to be reckonedwith by any subsequent artistworking on this theme. It’s large(10 by 6 feet), richly layered(made of wax, pigment, andnewspaper clippings), and deeplyambiguous. As critic AndrewGraham-Dixon points out,1 it wasoriginally understood as “art forart’s sake” having little to sayabout the flag and its meaning,instead “[forcing] the viewer tocontemplate only the act of painting itself”. Johns then divulged,mysteriously, that it had come tohim in a dream, rooted in a trip hetook with his father to a monumentto their ancestor William Jasper,who died in the American Revolution saving a flag from enemyhands. And how could it not beseen as a commentary by theyoung, gay, and left-wing Johns on1950s America in which ideals offree speech and free associationwere buried under layers of homophobia and McCarthyism?In White Flag, Johns laid the foundation of a life-long project inwhich he painted and repainted theAmerican flag many dozens oftimes and ways, continually returning to it and questioning it.For his 1986 book Stars and Stripes,Kit Hinrichs invited fellow graphicdesigners and illustrators to reinter-

Portland Flag Association PublicationJames Cross (paint on cloth), 1986.pret Old Glory to make a relatedpoint: that the U.S. flag itself invitesreinterpretation, and that those obsessed with “protecting” it from“misuse” are misguided. JamesCross’s flag covered by thick whitepaint is, like all the other submissions, an expression of the American ideal of liberty, to make andremake our own meanings independent of formal codes and standards. The book presents all there-workings without commentary,leaving them to the reader to interpret.For Wermke and Leinkauf, theirflag stunt is a similar expression ofindividual freedom and resistance.Though mysterious (and to theNYPD embarrassing and evenscary) when taken out of context,the event is better understood aspart of a series of “interventions”they’ve carried out. They declare:We investigate the boundaries of publicspace in urban environment through different kinds of interventions and performances. We temporarily override limitationsand constraints without permission orinvitation. Our aim is to question common standards and to show the beautybeyond these standards.2This particular stunt was a tributeto fellow German John Roebling,7An exhibit of João Felino’s white flags atLisbon’s Museum of Design and Fashion, 2014.who designed the BrooklynBridge and died during its construction, and his American-bornson Washington Roebling whooversaw its completion—and tothe bridge itself as a wonderfulaccomplishment and public space.Their intervention calls attentionto the two huge flags that are partof the bridge’s design, and (unlikethe other three cases) to the power of flying a flag in a public place.Coincidentally, while Wermke andLeinkauf were displaying all-whiteU.S. flags they had made inBrooklyn, artist João Felino wasdisplaying an all-white Stars andStripes he had made in Lisbon’sMuseum of Design and Fashion(MUDE). Felino’s work is moreovertly critical, pointing to theways in which national colorsdivide the world’s people, fostering an “us vs. them” mentality.As the director of MUDE puts it:Without the color, the differences erode,revealing the organization and thecommon rules of composition that thedesign of all flags must respect. Thus,this installation evokes the commonalities that unite all countries, despite theircultural and historical differences.3This nicely expresses the idea thatthere is a “language of flags” thatunites all nations in common needsof self-expression, respect, andautonomy, but also in the materialrequirements of flag design itself.Flags are about free speech andliberty, but also standards andconstraints.The questions that Jasper Johnsfirst raised in White Flag in 1955continue to resonate. How canflags be at once commonplace butextraordinary, standardized but reinterpretable, divisive but universal,and admitting so many layers ofinterpretation and meaning? The“simple”—but provocative—act ofturning a flag white is a surprisinglyrich way to explore fundamentalvexillological concerns.1 Past Things and Present: Jasper Johns Since1983, at the SNGMA, Edinburg, Article/3632 Cultural Hijack: Bedford Square, London,25 April–26 May participating-artists/87-wermke-leinkauf3 Bábara Coutinho, Press Release for Flags of theWorld, 22 May–31 August 2014 (Google translationfrom the Portuguese). esskit flags.pdfFor more on white flags and art,David Dunnico’s A White Flag onthe Moon and other stories about Flagsand art and stuff is full of fascinatingexamples and analysis. Available at

8The Vexilloid TabloidTribal Flag Art at the Portland Art MuseumOur own Portland Art Museumholds significant collections ofNative American art. Not only arethey particularly strong in PacificNorthwest tribal art, but the holdings encompass the entire continent’s indigenous peoples.The U.S. flag occurs frequently inIndian art. Three such pieces arecurrently on display at PAM.For more information on the subject, refer to Herbst & Kopp’s excellent The Flag in American IndianArt, New York State Historical Association, 1993. (ISBN-13: 9780295973142)RUG, 1991 Bertha Harvey (American[Navajo], active 20th Century. Wool.Gift of Robert W. Patton, Jr., 2001.72.FLAT BAG, c. 1885 Glass beads on hide with cotton lining.The Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection, 2012.25.72.Note the unusual color reversals in what is still clearly meant as a U.S. flag.BELT, c. 1930 Unknown Plateau tribe. Glass beads on cloth. Bequest of Elizabeth Cole Butler, 2012.67.28.October 2014

9Portland Flag Association PublicationWhat’s that Flag?What Was that Flag? Answers to the last quizBy David FerridayBy Scott MainwaringThe unifying theme is obvious, butcan you name these seven flags?Answers in the next issue The theme linking these flags:they represent Portland, Oregon’snine sister cities. Congrats toRalph Kelly, of Sydney, Australia,who first solved the quiz.Suzhou, ChinaUlsan, KoreaSapporo, JapanKhabarovsk, RussiaAshkelon, IsraelKaohsiung, TaiwanBologna, ItalyMutare, ZimbabweGuadalajara, México

10The Vexilloid TabloidPortland Flag MiscellanyA local alternative newspaper, thePortland Mercury, recently publishedthe schedule for Pedalpalooza, agigantic annual month-long celebration of bicycling in Portland.The cover’s not-so-subtle referenceto Eugène Delacroix’s 1830 LibertyLeading the People perhaps anticipated one of the most popular events,the World Naked Bike Ride.The PortlandPedalpaloozaBike Festivaluses the flagof Portland(along withCascadia’s)to promotean eclecticmix of over260 events.Liberty Leading the People, 1830Thank-you to Scott Mainwaring for fastidiouslytending the PFA website and posting the VT therewith alacrity every two months.(Source:PortlandMercury6/4/2014)November MeetingThe next meeting of the PortlandFlag Association will be at 7 p.m.,Thursday, November 13, 2014, atMichael Orelove’s house, 2905S.E. Palmquist Rd. #4, Gresham.He lives in a trailer park and theaddress is for the overall park;the trailer is #4. (503) 703-4495.See the map at right.We look forward to seeing thoseof you who have missed recentmeetings, and see some differentflags, hear some new stories, andengage in provocative discussion.October 2014The Vexilloid Tabloid , founded in 1999 by the late John Hood, is published bi-monthlyby and for the Portland Flag Association—Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Find back issues at

Alaska’s official state song, Alaska’s Flag, begins with a description of Alaska’s flag: “Eight stars of gold on a field of blue ” John Ben “Bennie” Benson, Jr., a 13-year-old Aleut boy, created the design for the state flag contest. Raising the Alaska State Flag The Alaska

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