By JEFF ST. PETER
The Port of Brookings Harbor has scheduled a special board meeting today (June 27) to resolve the controversy surrounding the flying of a China Flag at the boardwalk.
The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Harbor Sanitary District meeting room at the port.
The issue arose on Memorial Day when veterans and others protested the flying of a Peoples Republic of China flag on one of the ports Friendship Flag poles.
The poles are located on the port boardwalk, which was also the site for the communitys Memorial Day service on May 28.
Vietnam veterans saw the flying of the Communist nations flag as a slap in the face, as China was the primary supporter of the North Vietnamese war effort.
All the Friendship Flags were removed that morning by order of Port Manager Russ Crabtree.
Following a meeting of port officials and port business owners, the flags were raised again the following Wednesday. It had been agreed that the Friendship Flags would be flown except on specific holidays, especially those where veterans groups were involved or honored.
The issue flared up again almost immediately when the port and port business owner Pat Silveria, who had purchased the Peoples Republic of China flag, began receiving threats that the flag would be taken down forcibly.
There were also accusations of threats of personal violence toward Silveria and against her business, she said. The threats were attributed to several Vietnam veterans.
Crabtree then ordered the flags taken down again until the issue could be resolved.
The port hosted a public meeting on June 12. Interested individuals on both sides of the issue voiced their opinions for more than an hour-and-a-half, but no consensus was reached.
It was then decided to let the port board of commissioners resolve the issue based on public input and legal opinion. The board has the final say on the issue, but the commissioners had hoped that some sort of solution might have risen from the public meeting on June 12.