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Salem, Oregon (U.S.)

Marion County

Last modified: 2022-08-12 by rick wyatt
Keywords: salem | oregon | marion county |
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2022 flag
[Flag of Salem, Oregon] image by Masao Okazaki, 14 July 2022



See also:


Current Flag

A contest was held by the Salem Flag Project in July 2020 and accepted entries for a year. Four finalists (see Flag change proposal) were chosen by the Flag Committee, put to public vote in December 2021, and submitted to the city council for its choice of which to adopt on July 11, 2022. The adopted flag, designed by Jordan Keagle, is described as follows:
"Salem has been known as the Cherry City for over a hundred years. Flowering cherry trees are common all over Salem, but particularly around the state Capitol downtown. Each spring, the Capitol mall bursts into bloom. My design uses the cherry blossom combined with a star to represent being the state capital. The blue band stands for the Willamette River, which runs north to south through the city. I know the pink is a bit unorthodox, but I think it makes the flag immediately distinctive.”

The city council adopted the flag but has decided to change the color of the cherry blossom from red to pink.

Flag adoption news report: https://www.salemreporter.com/blogs/581#6963

The image above is what the final flag will probably look like, but we'll have to wait a while for the actual flag.
Masao Okazaki, 14 July 2022


Previous Flag

[Flag of Salem, Oregon] 2:3 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

Salem’s flag has a white field bearing a white five-pointed star, from which solid stripes emanate in all five directions from the spaces between its points. The star is centered vertically, two-thirds of the distance from the hoist to the fly. On a field of 2 by 3 units, the stripes are 0.5 units wide and the star is roughly 0.8 units tall. The longest stripe, in golden yellow, runs from the lower hoist side of the star to the bottom hoist edge of the field. On it is salem in white, with the “l” piercing the stripe and joining the white field. Blue stripes run from the upper hoist and lower fly sides of the star, and meet the edges of the field. A golden yellow stripe runs from the upper fly side of the star to the upper fly corner. The final stripe, in green, descends from the lower side of the star to the bottom edge of the flag. On it in white is a stylized image of the top portion of Oregon’s state capitol, surmounted by its statue.
Richard Monahan, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The city describes the symbolism:
The flag’s design symbolizes the essence of the City of Salem. It is the capital of Oregon. Into Salem flows the input of the State and from Salem comes the decision and directions for Oregon. The star—the symbol used on maps to indicate a State capital …The decorative element is the landmark sculpture of the Oregon Pioneer on the top of the Capitol Building. The colors were chosen to symbolize the ideals of the City of Salem …the dominant background of white shows peace and honor. The design utilizes summer blue, autumn golden yellow, and spring green; the blue being sky and water, the green showing freshness and eternal hope, the golden yellow of harvest indicating fulfillment and the enjoyment of nature’s bounty. Together these colors also indicate the four seasons and are reminiscent of Salem’s setting, between mountains, rivers, and fields.

Richard Monahan, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

Chosen from designs submitted in a flag contest beginning 1 February and closing 1 March 1972. An outside consultant examined and combined the designs. A final version was presented to a joint meeting of the mayor’s flag committee and the city council on 4 May and at a ceremonial meeting on 8 May, where the winners were announced. Ordinance 104-72 made the flag official.
Flag adopted: 14 August 1972 (official).
Richard Monahan, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Arvid Orbeck, a local designer, from a composite of ideas from the flag contest.
Richard Monahan, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The Salem Federal Savings & Loan Association paid for the costs of the flag contest, including radio and television advertising and Mr. Orbeck’s fee.
Richard Monahan, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Police Department

[Flag of Salem Police Department, Oregon] image located by Paul Bassinson, 14 March 2021

The flag of the Salem Police Department obtained from https://www.facebook.com/salempolicedept/photos/1819051438203187
Paul Bassinson, 14 March 2021


Flag Change Proposal

Reported in the Portland Tribune (22 August 2017), "Salem vexed by dull banner, looks to redesign city flag".
Vexi-News, 2 September 2017

The Statesman Journal reported four finalists for a new Salem flag:
https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/local/2021/12/20/salem-oregon-city-flag-design-contest-vote-poll-vexillology/8810985002/. Salem Flag Project webpage: http://salemflagproject.com/
Dave Fowler, 21 December 2021

[Flag proposal of Salem, Oregon] image located by Dave Fowler, 21 December 2021

Design Option A: "Salem has been known as the Cherry City for over a hundred years. Flowering cherry trees are common all over Salem, but particularly around the state Capitol downtown. Each spring, the Capitol mall bursts into bloom. My design uses the cherry blossom combined with a star to represent being the state capital. The blue band stands for the Willamette River, which runs north to south through the city. I know the pink is a bit unorthodox, but I think it makes the flag immediately distinctive."

[Flag proposal of Salem, Oregon] image located by Dave Fowler, 21 December 2021

Design Option B: "The design elements of my flag, which I am dubbing the 'Salem Cherry' invoke a few different aspects of Salem. On the left and right sides sits a blue stripe, which symbolizes the Willamette River running along the west of the city as well as the various smaller creeks that run alongside the eastern section of the city. These stripes also symbolize connection with the Oregon state flag, which will likely often be flying above this flag. The central red circle pays homage to Salem's nickname, The Cherry City, as well as the historic Cherry Festival and significance of cherries to the agricultural history of Salem. The white emblem in the center of the cherry acknowledges the Capitol and the status of Salem as the capital of Oregon. The emblem also has a second meaning, as the eight columns stand for the eight wards of Salem from which the city councilors are elected."

[Flag proposal of Salem, Oregon] image located by Dave Fowler, 21 December 2021

Design Option C: "I found that the current flag was full of great meaning and just needed a bit of a touch-up. The star represents the capital of Oregon, and the beams emanating from the star represent the function the city plays in the function of the rest of the state. Each color represents something in particular. White for peace, blue for the sky and water, gold for the harvest and green for the land and hope."

[Flag proposal of Salem, Oregon] image located by Dave Fowler, 21 December 2021

Design Option D (by Jason Saber): "My design reworks the essential elements and colors of the current flag, reconfiguring the four diagonal bands of blue and yellow in a regular pattern and retaining the vertical white on green representation of the state Capitol but in a prominent, central, eye-catching position. This unique local feature meriting a large impactful presentation.”

Dave Fowler, 21 December 2021