Q: Why isn't there any green in the flag? I mean, Oregon is green!
A: First off, Washington (our neighbor to the north) is the Evergreen State. We're the Beaver State, remember?
That said, the new flag design is actually all about the green! You couldn't have beavers if the state wasn't green! There wouldn't be the golden agriculture, the rich blue coastline, the deep blue waters of our many rivers if Oregon wasn't green! All of these qualities are represented in the new flag.
Blue & Gold are the official, traditional state colors of Oregon. This flag uses these colors, in order to preserve the historical ties to our heritage. While this design is new and bold, it also maintains a strong link to our past and the rich history that makes our state great.
Q: I like the fact that Oregon's current flag is the only state flag that has a different back-side than the front!
A: Well, that technically isn't a question, but I get your drift...
Actually, not many people realize this fact about the current flag (the back is different from the front). Not many outsiders, anyway.
Having the distinction of the only state flag with the reverse being different than the obverse (front) isn't that cool when you consider that the current Oregon state flag is virtually indistinguishable from 20 other state flags (state seal on a blue background). A much better distinction would be to have a flag that is colorful, unique and immediately recognizable!
That said, we're keeping the beaver! This flag reflects Oregon's history– our traditional symbols, and our official colors. In the new flag, the beaver is actually raised to a position of honor (instead of being relegated to the back side)! The Oregon beaver is now placed in the "canton," the top-left of the flag. This is the most important placing in a flag. In the US flag, the stars form the canton. In many flags of the British commonwealth, the Union Jack is placed in the canton. One of the reasons the canton (upper left) is considered the place of honor, is because that is the part of the flag that is prominent and most visible when it is hung from a poll, relaxed.
By the way, in the new flag, the beaver is actually reversed (from the back-side current version). In vexillology the important elements face the hoist (the poll from where the flag is flown); hence the new beaver faces left on the front (right on the back).
We're certainly not getting rid of the beaver! We're elevating him! Oregon is the Beaver State!
Q: We don't have the money for this!
We're in a recession-- borderline depression, for crying out-loud! We are scrambling to make up a huge budget deficit! How can you propose such a superficial idea as a new flag during these trying economic times?! I mean, this would cost the state some real money, and we need to funnel our taxpayer dollars toward schools, roads, public safety and social services. We don't have any money to spend on something as frivolous as a new flag!*
A: Here's the beauty of this proposal:
The Oregon Legislature could craft a bill, authorizing the new flag, while recognizing all existing flags of the current design as still official. Thus, it would be a grandfathering clause. This is what South Dakota is considering with their flag. All current (old) flags would still be official flags of Oregon; new flags would be made in the new design.
Flags need to be regularly replaced (especially outdoor flags); and when they are, the new design would be used. Thus, this new flag would be grandfathered in, costing the state, cities, counties, schools and other offices-- nothing!** This new changeover won't cost the state, taxpayers, or local governments, a cent!
* One could argue that a unifying symbol is far from frivolous or superficial. It has the power to change history, actually.
** An additional argument has been made that the current design (with the reverse being different than the obverse) is more costly to manufacture than a traditional flag (reverse the same as the front); thus the new flag could actually save the state money in the long run!
Q: But what's wrong with the current flag?
A: Our current state flag is similar to so many other US state flags that it's almost laughable. An official state seal has its place: It is totally appropriate on official documents, letterhead and the like. A state seal is intricate-- specifically designed to be difficult to reproduce, so that official documents are immediately recognizable as given from state officials.
But a flag has a totally different purpose. A flag is a symbol that needs to be recognized from a distance, as it flies from its hoist. Thus, it necessarily needs to be plainly visible-- recognizable by the masses, as it flies. The current Oregon flag is dark, drab and dull. In my opinion, it is often seen (in Oregon's drab, grey winters) as a plain, inconspicuous, indiscriminate drape.
Do you really want your state represented this way?
I didn't think so. ☺
Q: Hasn't this been tried before? I remember some kind of a flag contest a few years ago...
A: Yes, my astute website visitor, you are correct!
The Oregonian newspaper did run a contest a while back that encouraged people to send in their ideas for a new Oregon flag (apparently, there are others who agree that the current design needs to go). People sent in their ideas, and a committee decided on finalists. Then the public voted (from the chosen finalists) to choose the winner.
The winning design was (somehow, supposedly) submitted to the Legislature, but no one took any action on it. Replacing the current flag was a great idea-- with no feet.
Actually, this new design has the same symbols as the flag that was sent to the Legislature; but this new blue and gold design has even more symbolic significance.
Q: But wait a minute! I'm a Duck fan, not a Beaver fan! Why not have a duck? I could never support a flag with a beaver!
A: Well, first off, if you like the current flag, you already like a beaver (it's on the back). More importantly, the beaver on this flag isn't the Oregon State University beaver, it's the Oregon beaver. He was there first. OSU's mascot is the beaver because Oregon is the Beaver State-- not the other way around. This is the Oregon beaver. We're the Beaver State.
Q: Well, I'm a traditionalist. Let's just leave well-enough alone. We have bigger salmon to fry.
A: Another non-question, but let me address this.
If Oregon has any kind of reputation, it is known as a state that is progressive, forward-thinking and not afraid to try new things. Our stodgy, old flag certainly doesn't reflect that. Our current banner misses a great opportunity to instill pride in our citizens-- to unite the state-- and to show our colors to the world. Actually, as we are now hopefully moving out of this economic recession, now is a great time to adopt a new symbol for Oregon. What an opportunity to hoist a banner that says "We're moving forward-- we're launching ourselves into a new era of unity & pride, and belief in who we are as a state!"
Plus, as noted above, this won't cost taxpayers a cent!
Anyone who knows marketing, media and promotion will tell you the importance of visual display. A new, bold, colorful flag would bring media attention and would be a useful tool in promoting our state economically. The opportunity to use the flag, by Chambers of Commerce, cities, schools, and the State-- it is truly a gold mine! Your support is encouraged, and you are asked you to consider hopping on the bandwagon.
Most importantly, in view of the rich history of our beautiful state, and of our hopeful future, this new banner can not only serve as a rallying emblem for Oregonains, but it can be a symbol that will remind us of our rich heritage! This shouldn't be viewed merely as a marketing coup, it is indeed a transition toward our bright future.
This flag will serve to remind us of our heritage, symbolize our beautiful land, represent our bold, bright future, and rally all Oregonians to unity and purpose.