Theodore's World: Apartment Residents Told To Take Down U.S. Flags

« Drunk Rick Sanchez of CNN Is A Hit and Run Driver Now Also LIES About Rush | Main | Obama Cuts Pro-Democracy Funds for Iran »

October 15, 2009

Apartment Residents Told To Take Down U.S. Flags


Residents of the Oaks Apartments in Albany have reportedly been told to take down their flags. Even this one, on the back of a motorcycle, is part of the reported ban.

Apartment residents told to take down U.S. flags Portland

ALBANY, Ore. - At the Oaks Apartments in Albany, the management can fly their own flag advertising one and two bedroom apartments - but residents have been told they can't fly any flags at all.

Jim Clausen flies the American flag from the back of his motorcycle. He has a son in the military heading back to Iraq, and the flag - he said - is his way of showing support.

"This flag stands for all those people," said Clausen, an Oaks Apartment resident. "It stands for the people that can no longer stand - who died in wars. That's why I fly this flag."

But to Oaks Apartment management, Clausen said, the American flag symbolizes problems.

He was told to remove the red, white and blue from both of his rides, or face eviction.

"It floored me," he said. "I can't believe she was saying what she was saying."

Even long-time residents like Sharron White, who has flown a flag on her car for eight years, has been told to take it down.

White said management told her that "someone might get offended."
"I just said to her 'They'll just have to get over it,'" White said.

Resident we talked to who had been approached to take down their flags all told us the same thing: that management told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

Attempts to find out for ourselves why management would ban flags were unsuccessful. KATU wanted to talk to management at Oaks Apartments, but no one has returned our calls. The woman we were told had made the decision said she was "not going to answer any questions."

The mother of one soldier fighting in Iraq put up a poster in her son's apartment window when she learned of the ban. Her son's roommate said he'll risk eviction to make sure it stays.

Another Oaks Apartment resident, Judith Sherer, doesn't have a car. Instead she carries an American flag around the complex to protest the ban, and wonders if the flag pin she wears is next to be "singled out."

"If I put it on and I walk outside, what's going to happen?" Sherer muses. "Am I going to be confronted by a manager about this?"

We're told the ban includes sports flags and even flag stickers on cars.


Flag ban lifted at Oaks Apartments after outcry

ALBANY, Ore. -- Flags are OK again at an Albany apartment complex after the property manager reviewed the policy and decided she didn't have the legal standing to ban flags from the exteriors of apartments and vehicles parked at the complex.

"If people want to fly any flag of any nationality, it's their right," said Barb Holcomb with Oaks Apartments.

KVAL News also contacted the American Civil Liberties Union to ask whether the policy banning flags from the apartment complex violated any laws. The answer from the ACLU: No.

But Holcomb said she received different legal counsel that led her to believe she is wrong to ban the flags.

"When a tenant rents the unit, the inside of the unit belongs to the tenant," Holcomb said Wednesday. "All automobiles and things attached to the automobiles are the personal property of the tenant."
Holcomb said the flag ban was based on interpretation of two sections of the rental agreement all tenants sign.
"What we were trying to do was to keep the peace," she said, declining to say whether a specific incident sparked enforcement of the ban. "Obviously, we were wrong. If the peace needs to be kept, it belongs to the police department."

She said her boss has stood by her -- both when she enforced the policy and when she lifted it.

"I made a policy. I was wrong," she said. "My boss is a wonderful man. He backed me 100 percent -- even when I was wrong."

The story garnered national attention because of the ban on American flags, although the policy did not specifically single out the U.S. flag and allow the flags of other nations.

The result for Holcomb: Numerous phone calls from the media.

"If they want to speak to me, they speak to me," she said of the calls. "If they want to yell at me, they yell at me."

KVAL News asked whether she had talked to the resident who originally went to the media with the story. Holcomb said no, although she said she would talk to him -- and would have talked to him before he went to the media. Holcomb said he did not approach her before talking to KVAL News partner KATU.

"He's just a romping, stomping patriot," Holcomb said.

Wild Thing's comment........

I would never feel the same way about the place I lived if I had gone through this. What this woman, Barb Holcomb, did was unforgivable!

Anyone who gets offended by an American flag is in the wrong effing country.

......Thank you RAC for sending this to me.

RAC has a website that is awesome. 336th Assault Helicopter Company

13th Combat Aviation Battalion - 1st Aviation Brigade - Soc Trang, Republic of Vietnam

Posted by Wild Thing at October 15, 2009 06:55 AM


This is just getting out of hand. I suppose if someone flew the Palestinian flag or the Brazilian flag or the Chinese flag it would be okay, right? Come on people, this is America and the stars and stripes is our own country's symbol of freedom. Stop trashing her! Who cares if someone is offended? If they don't like it, they can leave! No one asked them to come here.

Posted by: Lynn at October 15, 2009 08:15 AM

It just never ends, does it? Seems too many people need a good reminding that this is America and we do things different here than in all those 3rd world banana republics they seem to be so fond of.
If they don't like freedom, there are so many other places they could choose to live.
Don't let the screen door hit you all on the way out!

Posted by: yankeemom at October 15, 2009 09:07 AM

Opps, oh dear - time for ALL the tentants in that complex to buy temporary US flag tatoo patches and stick them on their faces,arms and anywhere else that is visible on their bods!!! After all, the flag tats are on PRIVATE property then!! Then I would call in the press and cover the protest!!

Posted by: Lyn in Australia at October 15, 2009 10:04 AM

"He's just a romping, stomping patriot," Holcomb said. I guess that in Holcomb's universe that's supposed to be an insult. But in my universe, I'd be damn proud to be called that. I'm afraid that it's too late to stop this kind of nonsense, once you let one person get away with it you've opened the door of the asylum. Until we get leadership & courts that understand what the words "Patriotism" and "Sovereign Nation" mean, this kind of asinine behavior will continue and all we can and must do is to fight back !!!

Posted by: Rac at October 15, 2009 10:40 AM

The ACLU in that area must be idiots. Obviously this apartment complex, along with the ACLU doesn't know about Public Law 109-243, passed by the 109th Congress in 2006.

A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential
real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy,
or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of
the association from displaying the flag of the United States on
residential property within the association with respect to which such
member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive
possession or use.

Posted by: Steele at October 15, 2009 11:02 AM

I am a Vietnam Vet, I have only been flying ol Glory for only 10 years 24/7. My only regret is that I did not start flying it sooner. I say if you don't like me Flying our Country's Flag. Leave our Country. Many Men and Women have served our Country. Weather in uniform or intertaining our troops during Peace time and During War times.
They know how it feels to see our Flag shown Proudly..

Posted by: George at October 15, 2009 11:08 AM

I would have liked to see the paranoia that apt. manager must have gone through as the phone calls came in. However, she claimed she changed her mind because of legality issues, not because it was the patriotic thing to do.

Posted by: TomR at October 15, 2009 11:14 AM

Posted by: Jack at October 15, 2009 02:16 PM

Not to worry yankeemom, we're just about at banana republic status now. When the ruskies are allowed to visit our nuke sites and count our missiles you'll know that S & H Green Stamps will be in business again.

So being the non-violent peace loving individual that I am, my only wish is for the imposter CinC to suffer a fatal aortic aneurism ASAP. PEACE!

Posted by: Eddie (Locked & Loaded) at October 15, 2009 05:36 PM

For me, it would be time to move to an apartment where the landlord loves and respects this nation and its flag.

Posted by: BobF at October 15, 2009 06:49 PM

You've got that right Wild Thing---if you don't like the flag get the hell out and keep out. Glad to see the flag is up again in this far corner of the nation.

Posted by: Ron Russell at October 15, 2009 07:48 PM

Thanks everyone and Jack thanks for the links.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 16, 2009 12:17 AM

The ACLU? FACK THEM! I could have TOLD you the answer they would give. SCUMBAGS ABOUND.

Posted by: pontiff alex at October 16, 2009 11:56 AM