Looks like there won’t be a “Pride” flag on the pole in front of Albany City Hall next month after all.
On May 10, four of the six council members voted to approve Councilor Stephanie Newton’s motion to fly a donated “Pride” flag outside of City Hall during June, which advocates for the cause of gay rights recognize as “Pride Month.” Councilor Marilyn Smith voted “no” and Councilor Matilda Novak didn’t vote.
City Manager Peter Troedsson had been on vacation when the council took its vote. Now he’s back, and at the council’s work session Monday, he poured cold water on the flag idea.
Two considerations stand in the way.
One, he said, is that before deciding to fly any flags for particular causes the city would need to develop a policy, presumably a policy on which flags to fly under what circumstances and for what if any groups or causes.
Already there have been two requests to fly other flags outside of City Hall.
The other consideration is practical. State law says the city must fly the American and Oregon flags as well as the flag in honor of service members missing in action or presumed lost as prisoners of war. Albany is not complying with the MIA-POW mandate because when it did fly that flag under the other two, the banner got snagged on the corner of the building.
In short, the flag pole in the plaza outside City Hall is too short for three flags, let alone four. Also, it may not be strong enough to accommodate additional flags in a strong wind.
Instead of hoisting a “Pride” flag outside, Troedsson suggested that if the council wants, the staff could hang it on a wall inside the lobby of City Hall during June.
As for a flag-flying policy, it wasn’t clear from the discussion whether the city staff would try to come up with one. Considering the potential political pitfalls in addition to the limitations of the flagpole, it might be wiser to forget it and stick with the traditional flags the city flies now. (hh)