: The flag of the City of Portland is an offset cross of light blue, edged by white-yellow-white stripes, with a white four-pointed star in the left center, all on a background of Kelly green. The official size, proportions, and color elements in the City Flag are specified in the Portland City Code 1.06.010 (http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?&c=28155
History: In 1969, at the suggestion of Mayor Terry Schrunk, the Portland Art Commission established a special committee to select a designer for an official city flag. It chose Douglas Lynch, former president of the Art Commission and a prominent local graphic design professional and teacher. After extensive research and consultation with art commission members and city commissioners, he proposed a design in a process he called “as much diplomatic as it was artistic”. The Portland City Council adopted the flag in January 1970. In 2002, with the encouragement of the Portland Flag Association, Mr. Lynch simplified and improved the design, and the revised version was adopted by Ordinance 176874 on September 4, 2002.
Symbolism: Green symbolizes Oregon’s forests, which surround Portland. The intersecting vertical and horizontal blue stripes represent the Columbia and WillametteRivers, with the central white star (technically, a “hypocycloid”) signifying Portland at their confluence. The yellow stripes symbolize the harvest of golden yellow grain (Portland is a major exporter of wheat) and the gold of commerce. The white stripes are merely decorative. The offset cross is not intended to resemble a Scandinavian cross. The design inspired the logo of the Port of Portland.
Locations: The City Flag flies in front of the PortlandBuilding (5th Avenue) and City Hall (4th Avenue), in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and on many other commercial buildings around the city. It also hangs in the City Council Chamber and the PortlandBuilding’s 2nd-Floor Auditorium.
Previous flags: Portland has used three previous flags, with the first proposed in a flag contest sponsored by Mayor H. R. Albee in 1917 but never officially adopted.
[Source: AmericanCity Flags, North American Vexillological Association, ©2004: “Portland, Oregon” by Mason Kaye.]