A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Flags above the freeway in spite of ODOT

Written April 1st, 2022 by Hasso Hering

An American flag was tied to this overpass south of Eugene on March 30. (Kathy Hering photo)

On a drive from Albany to southern Oregon and back, you can’t help but notice U.S. flags tied to the fences on lots of the overpasses across I-5. The only thing I know about this is that ODOT is not pleased.

It would be nice to know who put the flags there. What’s the motivation? Any special occasion, or is it somebody’s idea of expressing patriotism in general?

But the stars and stripes on the fences come with no other message. So motorists passing underneath them at around 70 miles an hour have no clue.

Back in Albany after our trip, I sent an inquiry to Angela Beers-Seydel, the ODOT official who deals with the press in this part of the state.

“We do not know who is doing it or why,” she replied on Friday morning. “It has been going on for many years. Our maintenance crews remove them on a regular basis, as they do any materials attached to the overpass screens because they are safety hazards.”

I ‘ve been going up and down I-5 in Oregon for close to 50 years, and I can’t remember seeing as many flags on overpasses as I did this week.

“People often attach signs, banners, and such to overpass screens to be seen from the highway,” Beers-Seydel says, “When materials are attached to the screen, the people who left them have no way of controlling them. Any item placed on highway overpasses becomes a safety concern as it may fall into traffic or cause a significant distraction to travelers. We certainly do not intend any disrespect to our nation’s flag and in fact are following flag code.”

The code, she points out, says the flag “should never be fastened, displayed, used or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.”

She adds that these flags and other personal property removed from highways are stored at ODOT maintenance facilities, and owners are welcome to come claim them.

On Feb. 27, KMTR-TV, Channel 16 in Eugene, did a story on the freeway flags and ODOT’s practice of removing them. The station said flags had shown up on overpasses from Woodburn south. The ones I saw were between Albany and Roseburg.

Somebody has been going to a lot of trouble and expense to tie those flags to the overpass screens, and to replace them when ODOT takes them down.

I don’t know how much the flags add to the routine distractions while driving. But if you want to get photos to illustrate blogs like this, it’s wise to have your passenger be the one to get the shots. (hh)

The original version of this story has been updated.

This one was on the overpass at the Brownsville exit on Wednesday evening.





24 responses to “Flags above the freeway in spite of ODOT”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    The flag has become just another tool to be used by an increasingly administrative government.

    Symbolic of individual liberty? Ha!

    Bow down to the collective is more like it.

    And when Daddy says “drink the fluoride”, “pay this tax”, or “take that flag down”, you are expected to comply without question.

    Now, run off and be good little boys and girls.

    I’m sorry, I meant to use the government approved words “gender neutral.” No offense intended.

  2. TLH-ALB1 says:

    Hang ‘em up…Fly ‘em proud.
    They are no distraction at all…no more than flashy roadside billboard signs.
    USA Strong…!!!

    • Lisa McCall says:

      Oh my gosh! And the super bright, BLINDING lights on police vehicles and used by night work crews. They are bound to cause some accidents and almost seem designed to do so!

  3. James Engel says:

    Well screw ODOT. Those ODOT members who remove the flags I hope ARE NOT veterans.! Distractions to motorists my ARSE.

  4. sonamata says:

    Maybe they can take the Albany approach and pay an enforcement officer $90K to drive around and monitor the overpasses.

  5. Deborah Swenson says:

    I can see if a flag fell off onto a cars windshield it would /could pose a safety hazard.. At the same time, there is no better time to show our patriotism. A better idea than to have to pay someone to remove them, would be to pay for someone to paint the overpass’s with American flags. I think it a stretch to say they would be a distraction, especially when they are seen on a daily basis. This should be done anywhere Government funding for the interstates happens. In every single state in the United States.

  6. Allen Iverson says:

    I love them !!!!! Made me smile on the trip from So Ore to PDX and back…..

    Big Thanks to the folks who are putting ole Glory on display for all……


  7. Bob Zybach says:

    I posted this column on two Facebook pages, #timberunity and ONRI, and within a few hours more than 120 people have commented — and very similar to the comments on this page. When I was in Switzerland 50 years ago, I was surprised any all of the Swiss flags that people hung from their homes, businesses, even trees. Here, taxpayers are paying ODOT to remove our flag from overpasses. How is that a “hazard?” Compared to what? Based on what evidence? ODOT should be required to fly flags from all overpasses, not spending money to take them down. What could be more patriotic than our national highway system, paid for by citizens and opened to use by all?

  8. hj.anony1 says:

    Why do they have to be there?

    Do we all forget where we are from?

    Do we NEED the flag to remind us?

    • Lisa McCall says:

      The symbol of our nation inspires us. (At least it does so for freedom-loving patriots.)


    Well the way this country is going WE DO NEED A FLAG TO REMIND US OF WHAT WE THE PEOPLE STAND FOR!. Should be on every over every overpass in the America. We are PROUD to be the HOME of the BRAVE & the FREE! Thankful to the people who serve & died to keep us that way. LET OLD GLORY FLY!

  10. Bob Zybach says:

    I agree with Irene. There should be a US flag at every taxpayer-funded highway overpass in the US. State flags could be an option. ODOT should do something about the homeless situation and be required to install and maintain overpass flags — not remove them. I can see why hj.anony1 uses a pseudonym.

  11. MarK says:

    Just another example of the times. People trying to “cancel” the U.S. Flag and the Blue Line Flag, while supporting the BLM and LGBTQ flags. I think it’s disgusting and those who don’t respect the U.S. Flag should try living in ANY OTHER country.

  12. Bill Mclagan says:

    I believe that these flags that showed up in recent weeks ( to my observation) are the work of those in support of the USA trucker protest. Since the USA trucker protest version has been totally ignored by US media (unlike the Canadian counterpart which inspired it) I am not surprised that no commenter on this platform has yet made this connection.
    Two weeks ago we went to California and saw flags on almost every overpass, and just prior to that made a trip to Portland and saw not only flags but two kids waving flags on one overpass, one on each side of the flag attached to the fence. Also passed a trucker protest caravan that day going South. So I think that is the connection.

  13. John Hartman says:

    Hasso, it is good to see you ginning-up the Reactionary base of your readership. I can only assume you toss-in one of these Dog Whistle columns as a way of keeping the Base happy.

    These people seem to believe that if you don’t support flags flying everywhere that you must be a Communist dupe. Many of these Fellow Travelers used Old Glory on a wooden flag pole to smash the skulls of US Capitol police. Yes…the insurrectionists used many symbols of the United States in an attempt to take destroy democracy.

    Please stop equating patriotism with flag waving….the two are not the same thing…and if you supported the insurrection from the comfort of your Lay-Z-Boy, then please do not wave the flag in my face. You are as much a traitor to what democracy stands for as any of the Bear Spray MAGA crowd on January 6th .

    • centrist says:

      Plain-spoken statement of reality
      The is a symbol, not an idol to be worshipped. It has no power, ability, or authority. Folks who labor quietly to deliver the greatest good to the greatest number have that.
      BTW, seen more than one sneaky, lieing conniver drape himself in a flag while conning the citizens

    • One Old Man says:

      Smash the skulls in. Nice imagery. Total bullshit, but nice imagery.

      And just what democracy stand for? Tens of thousands of fraudulent votes at all levels? Burning buildings to thr ground while petionong to make criminal thugs into martyred heroes. The use of boomer, Trumper, libtard and other names designed to dehumanize the people you don’t like? The balkanization of races and the nation by those who have decided that anyone who opposes their view on anything is not misinformed or uneducated but Evil?

    • Bob Zybach says:

      Interest in this column continues to be strong on the two Timber Unity Facebook pages — less than 24 hours since posting and strong activity continues. Thousands of viewers, more than 865 Likes, 365 Comments, and seven Shares. These are the people that have supported the truck convoys to Salem and cheering on the Canadians and the DC truckers. I’m not sure how many traitors or insurrectionists were involved in these attempts to “destroy democracy,” but it seems to be pretty close to Zero. Still, John, you are welcome to continue spewing nonsense regarding what you think these folks “seem to believe” because it is a free country. A deep breath and a strong drink might help.

  14. Connie Nelson says:

    Maybe I am just old. In the 50s six graders or scouts at my school were chosen to put the flag up a pole in the morning. At the end of the school day it was taken down by the same students and folded in the way they were taught. The flag was to be respected. It wasn’t a decoration to hang over an overpass to be worn out into a rag. How can this be considered patriotism? I love this country and our form of government. The flag is a symbol representing our country…not a political party or group with an agenda. I would not wear clothing with our flag on it. Nor would I ever burn the flag. It should be disposed of in the proper manner.

    This nation is a wonderful mixture of people who have different opinions. Thank you, Hasso, for allowing us to write them.

  15. Elle Clark says:

    I saw some of these flags and some with the Canada maple leaf. Figured they were for the truckers. Noticed this on my trip to southern Oregon.

  16. First Responder says:

    Illegally attaching anything to a public freeway overpass is more than distracting, it is an underhanded, rebellious way to say “Let’s Go Brandon”, you are in Rebel territory.
    There’s nothing patriotic about it.
    They beak numerous US flag codes and show disrespect to our nations symbol
    ODOT has been notified to remove them.

    • Bob Zybach says:

      Hi Karen: I can see why you use an anonymous name for your silly assertions. You’ve obviously tipped your hand politically, and it is interesting you associate the flag as a Republican symbol. And then you try and define “patriotic.” wow. I wonder if ODOT “has been notified” by you while still using a pseudonym.

      • Michael T. Hinojosa aka "First Responder" says:

        There is nothing patriotic or respectful about breaking state laws, cutting holes in the US Flag, stretching it like a hide on a chain link fence, not allowing it to hang free, hanging it in the wrong position and leaving it in the dark. All US Flag Code Violations. ODOT assured me that they are removing them as soon as they are put up. By flag code regulations these hole filled flags should be respectfully burned. I learned how to respect the flag as a Boy Scout and a Fire Fighter. And that is why I feel so strongly about this “in your face” disrespect.


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