Deputies Replace Tattered Flag for July Fourth

While many Americans went the extra mile to fly the Stars and Stripes in honor of our nation’s independence this weekend — a few Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies went even farther than most, replacing a tattered and nearly inaccessible American flag at Willamette Falls.

If you navigate the Willamette River or look out at the waterfall from one of the viewpoints, you may have noticed a flagpole with a tattered U.S. flag in the middle of the falls. Deputies said they recall seeing Old Glory and the pole there for at least the past decade, and noticed the flag was in bad shape: tattered, worn and faded — hanging from only its lower grommet.

Deputies with the Clackamas County Marine Unit did a little research to try and determine who was responsible for the flag, which sits on a structure once used as a diversion dam for the now-defunct Blue Heron Paper Mill, and which also serves as a fish ladder.

As it turned out, neither Portland General Electric — which also uses the dam and the falls — nor Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had placed the flagpole there.

Upon closer inspection, deputies realized the mysterious structure was not a traditional flagpole, which would have a rope to easily lower or raise a flag, but simply a 20-foot log painted white, with a couple of eye-bolts at the top.

The log was jammed between some steel and concrete, with sticks wedged in between to secure the makeshift flagpole in place.

Being of the minds that this symbol of our great nation needed to be replaced — and fearing that someone else might place themselves in danger in an attempt to fix the flag — the deputies went to work. They first took down the pole to remove the old flag, then replaced it with a new one and reset the pole.

The sheriff’s office hopes residents take a moment to enjoy the site of Old Glory flying above Willamette Falls — from a safe distance.

A brand-new flag flies high above Willamette Falls this week, thanks to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

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