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Salem, Oregon (U.S.)

Marion County

Last modified: 2018-08-08 by rick wyatt
Keywords: salem | oregon | marion county |
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[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.



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Current Flag

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


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