It took two weeks, but Spokane County staff finally found the county flag.
It was folded in a box, locked in a courthouse vault, hidden from all eyes.
Where, perhaps, it should have stayed.
There’s been no talk of burning the 15 square feet of multicolored nylon. But county Commissioner Steve Hasson is showing it plenty of disrespect.
“We’re all in big trouble if that’s our county flag,” said Hasson. The commissioner said he had launched the search because he’d heard the county had a flag but he’d never seen it.
The flag was designed in 1988 by an Eastern Washington University graphics arts student who won a contest sponsored by the county centennial committee. It was the county’s banner during state centennial ceremonies the following year.
The flag features the crimson silhouette of an Indian wearing either spiked hair or a feathered headdress. The background is green with a blue slash representing the Spokane River and a yellow disk for the sun.
Its designer intended it to represent the Spokane Indians, whose name means Children of the Sun.
Hasson sees only a 1980s action hero when he looks at the banner.
“That’s the first Indian I’ve seen that looks like Mr. T,” he said.
Commissioner Phil Harris was more gentlemanly, but wondered whether Native Americans might be offended by the flag.
“It’s a fine flag for the time in which it was designed,” Harris said. “In today’s world, I don’t think it would fly, no pun intended.”
The county paid $1,751.75 for 25 copies of the flag in 1988. One was draped over the altar during Commissioner Keith Shepard’s funeral, said Rosanne Montague, clerk for the county commissioners. Others were sold.
Another is displayed in the state Capitol building with flags from all Washington counties. There’s no wind in the rotunda to unfurl the flags, which hang limply on their stands.
“All you can see is that it’s blue and green and it has something yellow on it,” said a capitol tour guide.
Hasson first suggested giving the county flag to Valley residents if they vote to form their own city Tuesday. On second thought, he said he’d hang it in his office, where graffiti clutters the walls and bad taste fits the decor.
“It’s growing on me,” he said.