Fourth of July: Flags Unfurled

Capture the flag takes on a whole new meaning when you’re trying to get that shot, the one where a flag unfurls majestically revealing all of its stars and stripes in their full glory. It takes waiting for the right wind or snapping away hoping for that perfect patriotic tear inducing shot. Flags are out aplenty this time of year creating opportunities to make classic all-American images.

Unfurled in the reflection.

With an inflatable, wind sock and buntings the flag becomes secondary to this Uncle Sam scene but it does manage to sneak its way into the picture.

Porch breezes caught.

Stars are stripes are essential decorations for this holiday. Sneak them into an old flower pot and they’ll dress that up as well.


Not every flag is in the right place to catch air. This flag is unable to display its faded glory. It can only hope to catch the right breeze.

Unfurling in a crazy wind.

The stripes of old glory here are encountering wind gusts from multiple angles making it tough to unflap its flapibility but it’s not with out effort.

Unfurling slowly.

A fun sculpture that attempts to heed a warning gets into the spirit of the Fourth of July with the addition of a small flag. Slow down, heed the patriotism revealed by this plastic boy and dog and you’ll keep kids safe in the process.

Bright and sunny.

Taken from a new home built across from the Post Office, whoever gets this room is going to wake up to an amazing flag view. On sunny days the sight of this is sure to supercharge anyone’s patriotic fervor.

Barely breezy.

This flag speaks to me about rights and freedom of expression and respect for the goings on behind closed doors. This flag also gets replaced periodically when it becomes tattered. Regardless of what kind of dancing goes on in this establishment, even if bears dance bare,  I salute this flag.

Bud Light drinkers unite.

This one goes out to some time Portland Orbit contributor, Will Simmons, who made a crack about Budweiser drinkers in Portland. Here’s proof that somebody is at least trying to inspire people to drink Bud and his cousin Bud Light in this town.

At some point this year it occurred to me that the American flag had been coopted, that it had somehow has come to represent those who use it as a way to show themselves to be more patriotic and even more loyal to American ideals. Sure flag waving has always been a thing but as I aim to keep things light and fluffy around here my flag appreciation remains unfettered. Things in the U.S. are in a state of flux but the flag still represents the hope and a determinations our founding fathers set out for this country in their old school, powdered wig wearing ways. This post, an annual one, is an attempt to extol the joys of flag displays. I want to see the flag as something all Americans understand as well as stand behind. I encourage everyone to get creative with Fourth of July decorations, if only for my entertainment alone.

Have a happy July Fourth!


Go Fourth!

Sure the Fourth of July is all about picnics, fireworks and probably America beer but we can’t forget the decorations found around town.

This tradition was started by our cross country rival publication the Pittsburgh Orbit and has inspired a need to showcase displays of patriotism in the Portland area as well.


I saw this display around 15th and Broadway in NE. It doesn’t explain itself but it makes good use of it’s window design, construction paper elements and symmetry to create an appealing, eye catching, festival of patriotism.


This is a good example of an interior flag decals. Others I’ve seen are faded and peeling off. If this doesn’t make you put your hand over your heart and mumble the Pledge of Allegiance, I don’t know what will.

USA Cart

At the tail end of my own shopping cart hysteria, I discovered this mobile can and bottle collecting vehicle chained to a sign at the end of our street. The decor it sports shouts a patriotic fervor that can’t be denied.



Flag waving sentiments were found within a backdrop of pole art when a cloth flag was affixed to a utility pole in North Portland. This banner may not yet wave like the song says but it does make for a grungy addition of American spirit to an old pole.


I like inflatable decorations of any kind, type or holiday so this Uncle Sam bear cub was destined to catch my eye and camera lens. The bear looks great in patriotic plastic. Here’s hoping he can dodge drifting fireworks sparks.


Faded glory for sure but this one harkens back to the days when we were all proud to be an America back when Lee Greenwood was haunting many a concert stage. While the stripes have long since faded on the flag, the bumper sticker offers up a historical record of there being yet another barber shop in Kenton.


Having made it to the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree on a bike camping trip last summer, I saw this banner decoration attached to a sale sign. Stars and stripes are never a bad way to increase traffic to whatever kind of sale you wish to advertise.

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Portland Has a Flag?

On a recent couple of Max train trips I noticed a flag. It had stripes of blue and yellow outlined with white on a green background. I saw it flying over PGE Park. I know, I know it as PGE but it may or may not still be Jeld Wen Field. I had a conversation with someone who said it was now called Providence Park. This could be figured out with a quick search on the web but, anyway, the flag was flying where the Timbers play. I also saw it at a couple of fire stations. I was clued in by a sticker on a car. It was the image of the mystery flag with Portland printed underneath. Some quick internet research confirmed what I did not know after living in Portland for seven years. Portland has a flag. I had been mystified. This flag was all over and looking nordic to me, like a Finnish flag with different colors. A poster I saw while substitute teaching at an elementary school made me realize the colors and design reminded me more of the Tanzania flag.

Firestation Flag

This flag had my imagination wandering. I couldn’t put it together until I saw the decal. To give a true feel for the flag I could have borrowed an image from the internet and used it in this post but I was stuck on that particular decal image. I have no idea why I didn’t take a picture of it when I first saw it. I started obsessing over that decal. I kept going back on dog walks to where I thought I saw the car with the flag decal and I could never find it. It’s not as popular as the decal of the outline of the state of Oregon with the green heart in it. After a few bike commuter rides to a sub job and observing multiple car decals, I ran into the image on Tillamook Ave and snapped a photo.

PFlag decal

Portland Flag MV

Portland has a flag.

We saw the Portland flag flying outside a restaurant in Multnomah Village and my wife, Ronna, started speculating about what the colors represented, like green being about the ecology and blue symbolizing our rivers. It’s true, the colors and design are all significant. So in order to not get bogged down in those details, allow me to introduce a secondary source. I would have considered good colors for a Portland to be black, red and silver. The same colors as the Trail Blazers or representative of darkness, blood and silver.

The more amazing thing about my Portland flag discovery was learning about vexillology. I knew nothing about it. I can’t even pronounce it but it makes sense that there would be people interested in flags enough that there would be a science behind it. I could tell you more but you will soon be looking at a blog—what?!? Star Wars flag posts—and possibly be attending a meeting. You’ll become more obsessed with flags and flag decals and their design and symbolism than me.

Check out the Portland Flag Association website. The blog might make you think about flags in ways you never have and you can go to a meeting: