A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council votes for ‘pride’ banner in window

Written May 24th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Here’s a digital simulation of a 5×8-foot gay-rights flag hung on the inside of City Hall, overlooking the plaza.

If they look up, people wandering across the plaza outside Albany City Hall in June will be looking at a gay-rights or “pride” flag after all.

Four members of the council wanted to hoist a rainbow flag on the pole outside City Hall during June, which gay-rights advocates have labeled “pride month.” They voted for the flag idea on May 10.

City Manager Peter Troedsson said Monday that could not be done because the flagpole is not adequate — too short and perhaps too weak — and because the city would first have to write and adopt a policy on flying flags other than those required by state law.

On Wednesday he again recommended that a flag policy be written before anything is done with extraneous flags. But he also showed the council an alternative. It was a staff-prepared rendering of a 5-by-8-foot rainbow banner hung high inside the window of the two-story atrium of City Hall.

The council’s four “pride” supporters — Ramycia McGhee, Ray Kopczynski, Steph Newton and Jackie Montague — voted to go that route. Matilda Novak left the room before the vote. And Marilyn Smith, who had voted “no” on hoisting the gay flag Monday, stayed silent but acknowledged this counted as “yes” under council rules.

Troedsson also suggested the city might look into replacing its City Hall flagpole with a taller and sturdier one. It wasn’t clear whether the council wanted to pursue that.

Wednesday’s discussion brought up the point that government flags carry a political message. So in June, if you visit City Hall but are not on board with the politics of gay “pride,” don’t take the front door from the plaza. You can use the doors on two of the building’s other sides. (hh)

P.S.: As for doors, Councilwoman Smith reminds me that you can’t enter City Hall from Third Avenue, since that’s been restricted to an exit only since Covid. She also asks: “Please let your readers know that city staff are developing a policy for all nongovernmental flags as per my motion last night.”

35 responses to “Council votes for ‘pride’ banner in window”

  1. MarK says:

    The council shows that they have no backbone.

  2. Anony Mouse says:

    Like their flag poles the city clearly intends to create another public forum (city hall windows) where private speakers can express First Amendment viewpoints.

    And under this approach the city cannot discriminate any viewpoint.

    The only way around this is for the city to declare the “pride” flag as government speech.

    In other words, pass off this private “pride” flag and its political message as the city’s own.

    That would be an act of deception. A subterfuge that would favor one private speaker over another.

    This situation is ripe for a lawsuit.

  3. Hartman says:

    Smith and Novak demonstrated exceptional character. Nothing says fortitude like a GOP-style Walk-Out. Even more courageous – a vote of silence, I feel certain gay constituents of these two bold leaders will be excited by Smith and Novak’s bravado. When the history books are written, Smith and Novak’s profile in courage will be prominently memorialized. Lastly, we must all be encouraged by the fact that Smith and Novak seem content to represent only those who fit their inner narrative despite the fact that they took an oath to protect and defend…the rest be damned. I know I feel better after witnessing their brawny behavior.

    • Al Nyman says:

      The flag does not represent diversity in the US but tries to promote that anybody that doesn’t believe like you do Hartman is a racist or something of that magnitude and attempts to cause dissent in the masses. I think they should fly the Swedish flag because there are more Swedes in Oregon that whomever the pride flag supposedly represents. I think we should definitely fly the Mexican flag because there are more Mexicans than pride members in Oregon.

    • Snailracer says:

      I’ll admire their “brawny behavior” way before applauding self-mutilation as an expression of gender confusion.

  4. hpeg13 says:

    Oh for the love of God, when do Christians get their rainbow flag back to be put in city hall,or the BLM or Antifa? This is outrageous and SHAME ON YOU COWTOWING TO 1% OF THE POPULATION.

    • Hartman says:

      Sorry, but that would violate the separation of church and state, a doctrine sacred to all Americans who do not wish to have the heavy thumb of the church on their backs even at city hall. We can only hope that the City Council will not do anything so stupid as to foist a christian flag, or drape a christian flag in the window. That’s why we have churches. Keep religion in it’s place…not in government.

      • Anony Mouse says:

        You should live in Boston. Their city government refused to fly a “Christian” flag.

        The city was sued and lost a unanimous decision at the SCOTUS.

        Shurtleff v. City of Boston

        Lesson Learned: If a city is going to allow free, private speech on a flag pole (or window in Albany’s case), then it can’t pick winners and losers.

  5. James Engel says:

    OOOKKKK……. “Pride” gets it’s window display. When do other groups get their turn to express their views in a window??? To be “fair” to all each should have a chance regardless whether the Council deems it a “politically correct” display or not!!

  6. Brandon Rodriguez says:

    Yay! I am glad that the pride flag will be prominently displayed and hopefully next year it can be flown on the flagpole.

    • Snailracer says:

      Flags are symbols of territorial conquest, so this decision by City of Albany actually is a big deal. When it comes to commingling your ‘religion’ with our city, ya might wanna be very careful whatcha asked for.

  7. khs says:

    Good it’s displayed, same with any other flag that is not related to hate and discrimination.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Seems it does generate a lot of hate from those that are tired of having that agenda FORCED on us. Your premise is BS.

      • Cap B. says:

        Hasso: What’s with letting Bill Kapaun say in your blog that khs’s comments are BS?

        • Hasso Hering says:

          The term “BS” offend you?

          • hj.anony1 says:

            HH, I’m knee deep here. Save me?

          • Cap B. says:

            Don’t get petulant, Hasso. It doesn’t become you. The term, BS, isn’t offensive as far as the written word goes, I’m sure, but most of us don’t like to have our take on something labeled as BS. ( I shouldn’t have to explain this to a former, long-time editor.)

        • Bill Kapaun says:

          I attacked the premise. You attacked the person. Why aren’t you asking Hasso why he allows YOU to post?

          • Anony Mouse says:

            Here here.

            It appears that Cap B. is letting Ze (or is it Xe?) ego get in the way.

            Criticism beats up the person. Critique beats up the idea.

            Some people simply can’t distinguish between the two.

          • Cap B. says:

            That’s BS…all the high-falutin’ talk about the difference between criticism and critique. That belongs in the halls of the Ivory Towers of higher education. But, that is not where this blog is, physically or intellectually. In everyday living, when someone says a statement is BS, they are criticizing a person’s thoughts and therefore criticizing that person. So, yes, herewith I am criticizing Kapaun and Anony Mouse.

  8. Bill Kapaun says:

    Did they think it fitting to ask the City Attorney for an opinion, or do they only use him to OBFUSCATE WORDS such as making a SALES TAX into a FRANCHISE FEE.

    I expect the Mayor/City Council to be personally financially liable from any costs incurred by lawsuits from those that aren’t allowed to hang there personal opinions on City Hall.

  9. Carol Gascoigne says:

    Too bad the good folks of Albany did not have a say in this decision
    Will they display a Christian flag or any other group flag ??
    If you fly one, you have to fly them all

  10. Beam Me Up, Scotty says:

    Hasso, would you ask a question for us at a City Council Meeting:
    “Would any of the City Council members be open to a drag show performance at an upcoming council meeting? Why or why not?”

    The answers would be very interesting. I’d like to hear their true colors.

    • Matthew Calhoun says:

      It’s not like it’s any secret when and where there meetings are. Maybe try getting yourself down there if it’s so important to you. I’m pretty sure they still do online access too so if you’re too lazy there’s that too.

  11. Kevin says:

    In the articles and comments surrounding the flying of the Pride Flag (looks like they mock up is displaying the Progress Pride Flag), it’s been questioned why June is called Pride month and why the flag is called the Pride Flag: as in, why use the word “pride.”

    Historically (and currently such as it is), LGBTQ+ people have had to live their lives in secret and/or have been put in a position of being ashamed of who they are. Pride month is meant to be call to LGBTQ+ people to not be ashamed of who they are. Pride, here, is seen as the antithesis of shame, thus Pride Month, Pride Flag, Pride fill-in-the-blank, etc.

  12. Hale Utah says:

    Sure an incredible amount of bigotry being expressed here over a lousy flag. Big Damn folks. Don’t you have better things to complain about? The very fact you are obsessed with this issue says you are bigoted. I’m an old straight white guy and I just don’t understand why so many right Wingers work themselves into a stroke over such non-issues. Recognizing that gay people exist and and that they can be proud of themselves and not ashamed is just basic human decency, something many of the commenters here and the writer of the story seem to be totally lacking.

  13. hj.anony1 says:

    LOL @Councilwoman Smith advise. PERIOD

  14. Bill Kapaun says:

    “P.S.: As for doors, Councilwoman Smith reminds me that you can’t enter City Hall from Third Avenue, since that’s been restricted to an exit only since Covid. ”

    Isn’t Covid over? Medical offices seem to think so. Or does this Mayor/City Council claim to have greater medical expertise than trained people. Then again, they think they know more than realtors.

  15. RICH KELLUM says:

    Maybe what is needed is a First Amendment flagpole, Where ANY flag could be flown. Not at City Hall but at a secondary location, If the far left gets to shove it’s flag at us, then a “Don’t Tread On Me flag should be welcome, or whatever wacko group that has a cause……. I could see it now…………. the KKK flag alongside the BLM/ANTIFA flag


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