The end is near for Provo flag debate

Provo Flag

The Provo council will vote on this design at the Nov. 11 meeting to decide the new Provo flag.

After more than a year of discussion, online voting and meetings, Provo finally might have a new flag. The Provo council on Tuesday decided that it would officially vote on one flag design on Nov. 11.

Mayor John Curtis first brought up the issue of a new flag on his blog in March 2013, asking for ideas for a new design. In May he again blogged about the city flag, asking readers to vote on two designs. In the end, though, neither of those designs will be voted on by the city council. Instead, they’ll be voting on a design brought forward by a committee appointed by the council to study the issue, comprised of Councilman Stephen Hales (who actually designed the city’s current rainbow flag, but not on purpose), former councilwoman Sherrie Hall Everett and Provo resident and vexillologist (flag expert) Jason Bates. The design — the city logo on a blue background — is favored by Everett and Hales, but not Bates. The logo is the sun behind a green mountain in front of a blue lake.

The city’s current flag, adopted in 1985, came from a design Hales did for the city for the cover of an economic development kit, Hales said. The city later adopted it as a logo and flag, though it was never intended as either. He said the proposed design meets criteria for good flag design — it’s easily identifiable, attractive, has contemporary and modern colors and design, and he thinks it can “represent the city without controversy.”

“There’s no work in trying to interpret it,” said Councilwoman Kim Santiago. “It’s just a cool look.”

The vote to move the design to an official vote wasn’t unanimous though. Councilmen Hal Miller and Gary Winterton voted against pushing the design to an official vote; Miller had suggested adding another design into the mix.

Miller first suggested asking residents to vote (once) on the design preferred by Hales and Hall Everett and another from Bates. He then suggested having Bates present an alternative and its rationale to the city council on Nov. 11, and letting the council decide between that and the logo design.

Bates put forward some design ideas at a meeting in September; his suggestions were more geometric and abstract, Hales said.

Santiago said it would be difficult to explain an abstract-looking flag and confusing to not use the city-branded colors. “To have something abstract would take a lot of informing of the public and explanation and outreach.”

Three other council members agreed with Santiago and Hales, and the council will vote on the flag on Nov. 11.


Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

One Comment

  1. AvatarCasey Reply

    Santiago thinks Provo residents are too dim-witted to understand something abstract. Meanwhile, you have a flag expert that offers expertise that is being ignored by Hales, Santiago, and others.

    By the way, Mr. Hales, the proposed design does NOT meet the criteria for good flag design, as it includes a seal/logo.

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