Portland, Oregon, City Flag History

Jan 12th, 2017

The city of Portland, Oregon, was incorporated in 1851. It is located on the bank of the Williamette River in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Portland did not adopt an official city flag until 1970.




In 1969, the Portland Arts Commission was drafted by the mayor, Terry Shrunk, to find a flag design for the city. The Commission established a committee to find a designer. Dough Lynch, graphic designer and teacher, was chosen to work on the design.


Lynch’s design had a green field to represent forests, a four pointed star to represent the city, blue lines to represent the Williamette and Columbia rivers, and gold borders to represent commerce and growing grain along the rivers. The white stripes that were included were for decoration.


The city council adopted Lynch’s flag design with the addition of the city seal. Lynch was not happy with the change, but there was nothing he could do about it.


Portland Seal


In the early 2000s, Lynch explained his problem at a meeting of the Portland Flag Association. The vexillologists sprung into action and testified before the city council on what changes were needed for the flag. Lynch’s modified his original design by making the blue stripes and the star larger, removing the city seal and replacing the blue canton that had contained the seal with green. The revised design was officially adopted in September 2002.


In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association conducted The American City Flag Survey. Wichita’s flag ranked 7th out of 150 flags. If the flag had not been revised in 2002, it would most likely have received a low ranking in the survey, as did all other city flags containing a seal.


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