Ashland flag caper stymies officials

·2 min read

Sep. 10—Sometime in the dark of night, someone stole the American flag that flew above the Ashland Plaza.

Ashland city officials noticed the loss Friday morning, but there was no evidence at the scene of the crime, said Mike Morrison, deputy director of the Public Works Department.

The city has been here before, Morrison said.

"This happened a long time ago, probably 20 years ago — never did figure out who or why," he said.

In response to the previous flag caper, the city built a cover around the flagpole that extended 12 feet up to deter future theft, he said. On Thursday, someone climbed 12 feet up the pole to cut the rope and pull down the flag.

"Don't know why anyone would want to go to that much effort," he said.

Replacing the flag is simple enough — the city keeps several in storage to replace those that wear out. But the height of the pole poses a problem. Of the city's many bucket trucks, just one goes high enough to reach the top of the flagpole, and it is waiting for a radiator replacement. As soon as the truck is in service, the American flag will fly again.

There is discussion about building a second cover that likely would extend to 20 feet off the ground. Morrison worried the next thief may not be so lucky if they had to climb that high.

"It's probably better to replace the flag every 20 years than have somebody fall from that height," he said.

There is one camera in that area of Ashland, Morrison said, but it's not a security camera; it's more of a live feed of downtown, and as far as he knows, it was not keeping an eye on the flagpole Thursday.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.