OSF flags on overpass was a hollow promise

When they refurbished Exit 14 on Interstate 5 in Ashland, they originally said that Shakespeare Festival banners would hang from all of the light poles on the bridge. The exit is completed. The light poles appear to have horizontal rods for banners. So where are the banners? Have they been forgotten?

— Jim M. email

Never fear, Jimbo, the banners have not been forgotten. But there are a few issues to resolve that have things twisting in the wind a bit, according to Ashland and Oregon Department of Transportation officials.

The exit is refurbished and the poles are ready to go, said Gary Leaming, ODOT spokesman. In fact, ODOT received kudos from the Aesthetics Advisory Committee for its work, he said.

Now it's up to the city to determine what will be fluttering a greeting, Leaming said.

In a nutshell, creating and hanging the banners is something for the city of Ashland and the Chamber of Commerce to determine at their leisure, Leaming said.

"They are better-suited for that anyway," he said, adding, "banner placement is outside of our mission."

Enter Katharine Flanagan, marketing director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. Because of zoning regulations at the exit in question, the Bard's banners will not be flying any time soon, said Flanagan.

The zoning ordinance requires any banner placed on the rods to represent Ashland in its entirety, Flanagan said. Indeed, it prohibits any specific entity from being singled out, she added.

We at the Since You Asked School of Heraldry have sussed this out to mean flags touting the Shakespeare Festival, Southern Oregon University, Lithia Park, Mount Ashland or Bigfoot are nixed.

So the rods remain empty for now. But all sorts of options remain open, Flanagan said, adding the city has undergone a new "branding."

"All this doesn't mean there won't be banners up," Flanagan said. "But what they will be is yet to be determined."

May an Ashland logo be flapping a breezy greeting of civic pride soon, Jim.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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