|FLAG DILEMMA PLAGUES PORT|
|May 31, 2001 11:00 pm|
After the Friendship Flags were raised again on the boardwalk at the Port of Brookings Harbor on Tuesday, they came back down Wednesday after the port office received more complaints about the flying of a controversial flag.
According to Russ Crabtree, port manager, the issue was seemingly resolved on Monday, after the Peoples Republic of China flag, along with the other nine Friendship Flags were removed for Memorial Day.
The port office and Coast Guard had received numerous complaints on Monday morning about the flying of the communist nations flag on the boardwalk during ceremonies to honor American veterans.
To resolve the dilemma, Crabtree ordered all the Friendship Flags taken down before the 11 a.m. ceremony.
On Tuesday morning, port officials and merchants met to decide how to avoid a similar controversy in the future. It was decided that all the Friendship Flags would not be flown on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
The Friendship Flags were raised again on Tuesday afternoon with the expectation that everything was fine, Crabtree said on Thursday.
But on Wednesday, a group of veterans threatened to take the Chinese flag down by force and destroy it. So down came all the flags again, Crabtree said.
We received close to 10 calls on Tuesday and Wednesday, he said, from people concerned about our flying the Peoples Republic of China flag.
We made the decision to take them all down after we reached an agreement with the person (Pat Silveria) who purchased the flag.
The Friendship Flags are purchased by individuals or organizations and then donated to the port to be flown on the boardwalk.
Crabtree said all the flags will stay down until the issue can be resolved.
We felt we didnt want to single any one individual flag out, he said, and so we took them all down.
They will stay down until we can find an agreeable conclusion for all those concerned.
Crabtree said port officials and merchants will meet with concerned citizens to discuss the issue soon, but no date has been set for the meeting. He believes the problem should be resolved within 30 days so the flags can once again be flown.