UPDATE: University Place City Council Votes 6-1 To Locate Flagpole Close To Civic Building

After much discussion and public testimony - a year's worth actually - the University Place City Council votes to place flagpole in the "manhole" location closer to the Civic Building instead of near Bridgeport Way West.

UPDATE: 8:55 p.m., 10/15/2012

After a year's worth of discussion, debate and questions of patriotism, University Place leaders voted Monday night to erect a flagpole next to its Town Center Civic Building.

On a 6-1 vote, elected city leaders decided to erect the flagpole close to the building instead of closer to Bridgeport Way West.

The location means a bronze duck that pays tribute to late UP volunteer Terry Reim will be unimpeded.

Monday night's decision came after public testimony that again showed how divisive the issue had become, as well as after multiple UP leaders voicing their disappointment in the black eye the issue ultimately left the city.

Check back for updates.


The debate over when and where to erect a flag pole at University Place Town Center will finally be decided tonight.

At least we think so.

Tonight, the University Place City Council is scheduled to discuss two recommended locations for the flag pole in the vicinity of the Civic Building: the "Grass" location and the "Manhole" location.

The first would be located closer to Bridgeport Way West. Currently the site of an oak tree, this option would require cutting down the tree for the pole's installation.

The latter option is located in Market Square closer to the Civic Building. This site was originally designed to seasonally house a Christmas tree. This option would prevent the city from using it for a tree.

Staff is recommending using $20,000 in Local Revitalization Funds.

Musique October 16, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Sorry I missed all the excitement (not really!)~~sounds like everyone needs to have a time-out and think about what they have just said. Are you all really fighting over this silliness? Most people would not care where the flag is placed as long as it is treated with respect. http://www.indutex.net/flagcare.html This reminds me of two people divorcing and fighting over a child; grabbing each an arm and pulling till one of child's arm tears off. SOMEONE will have to give in as to not hurt something so loved; not everyone will get what they want. Time to grow up folks, seriously! How old are you all?
Randy Walden October 16, 2012 at 02:43 PM
This all makes one wonder, why this city is not moving in the right direction. If one cannot handle the smaller things, what makes you think they can handle the larger issues.
Dan October 16, 2012 at 04:20 PM
New Headline: U.P.'s War on Christmas! City council votes to eliminate Town Center Christmas tree. #kidding
Brent Champaco October 16, 2012 at 05:45 PM
"This decision is not about measuring the level of anyone’s patriotism…instead, it should be based upon which location makes the most sense."
Brent Champaco October 16, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Hey all, I just want to remind users of our terms and conditions, and that personal attacks are prohibited. As was mentioned during the City Council meeting last night, this is a VERY emotional issue, whether it was intended to be that way or not. Let's not fuel this already controversial issue with below-the-belt stuff. Let's stay classy, UP.
Brent Champaco October 16, 2012 at 06:26 PM
You almost gave me a heart attack over my Cap'n Crunch bowl, Dan.
Brent Champaco October 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Great metaphor, Musique. That probably should have been stressed before the whole ordeal spiraled into this.
Christie Anderson October 16, 2012 at 07:19 PM
An excellent and insightful comment Randy....too bad I 'm not old enough to understand it; I haven't taken the time to grow up yet, lol.
Christie Anderson October 16, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Such as what Brent? Was there a person commenting in this thread that was attacked?
Lorna Smith October 16, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Maybe we should go to the tree lighting group's meetings and then we could see that there is in fact a debate about the Christmas Tree.
Brent Champaco October 16, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Yes, Chris. There was a comment regarding a UP resident that focused on her roles outside of this debate about the flagpole. Again, I hope we can keep things civil and elevate the conversation a bit.
Christie Anderson October 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I can remember a time when there were (allegedly) viscious and slanderous comments made in a discussion thread here on Patch about a former council person. When it was called into question here....nothing was said or done about it. Interesting how this applies to some and not to others. But I digress...those who are actively involved in our community and present themselves as such are open to criticism in my opinion. Especially when they do have a direct effect on what is happening with "the duck", "the flag pole' and "the Christmas Tree".
Ernie Lackman October 16, 2012 at 10:05 PM
As concerns council member Choinier's statement regarding a ridiculous amount of time spent on the flag issue: he needs to be reminded it was the ridiculous statements he offered when the idea was first introduced that have contributed to the controversy.
Howard and Barbara Lee October 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM
OK Brent, lets give this the "civility test." "Duck, the other white meat!" Is this a blow below the tail feathers or just good nutritional advise. No Mas! Howard
Randy Walden October 16, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Dan, I think people must have totally missed what Bellecci said. They are so caught up on the pole and did not question that statement. Man we are a sad lot!
Howard and Barbara Lee October 17, 2012 at 01:14 AM
No Randy, citizens who participate in the direction of our city didn't miss that comment. As Javier stated, " after $23 million spent on the building, we certainly should be moving into it." However, the move will not happen in the near future!
James Rand October 17, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Choinier should be recognized as a big part of the problem. He was a huge proponent of no flagpole. Thanks for making our city a laughingstock.
Jonathan October 17, 2012 at 01:42 PM
If you can see past his finger pointing, it would appear that Mr. Keel is receiving a valuable introductory lesson in politics here. Anyone with a modicum of perception recognized from the beginning that Mr Figueroa was grandstanding when he introduced the issue of the flag last year. Yet Keel made a calculation that he could indulge Mr Figueroa without any risk to himself. I'm sure in retrospect he wishes he had spoken up, as some others did, to try and shutdown this very untimely and divisive exercise before it could start. We can only hope he will be less likely to follow Mr. Figueroa's lead in the future.
Jonathan October 17, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Did Mr. Figueroa express any regret for his leading role in this debacle? If not for the discredit he brought on himself and the council, but for the undeserved discredit he brought to our city? I can't think of any other occasion in the history of the city where the stakes have been so low and yet so much political capital has been squandered.
Jonathan October 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Got to disagree James. Mr. Choiniere deserves some credit for recognizing immediately that this was both the wrong time and the wrong issue for the council. And he deserves even more credit for having the guts to say so. If just one more council member had the good sense of Choiniere then this whole episode might have been avoided.
Howard and Barbara Lee October 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Ernie and James are right on the mark! Mr. Choiniere's presence on the city council may be formable, he certainly has not been able to bring the city council together as a team and in fact has been a divisive factor in this endevor. The flag issue has now been resolved so it is time to move on. Howard
Howard and Barbara Lee October 17, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Sorry Mr. Bird, but I don't consider displaying the US flag as being a "low stakes" issue. There are millions who either have paid the ulitmate price or have returned but their lives will never be the same because of physical and mental combat related injuries just so the flag could be proudly flown, Howard
Jason October 17, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Uh, Mr. Keel was not even on Council last year! Those that were admitted they should have stopped this issue. The reason elected positions are staggered is to provide continuity which didn't happen because the five member on Council last year didn't provide the proper leadership. Last year, Mr. Keel was busy serving as an elected School Board Director of the best public school system in the state of Washington - University Place Schools. He served our city there for 10 years! That means he has held elected public office longer than anyone on Council except Mr. Grassi. So, I am not sure he needs any introductory lessons. I agree with Dan and Brent. Keel called everyone out, including council members, for being so inept on this issue and he should be commended.
Jonathan October 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I love the flag. Flags decorate my home, and if I get the urge I have some on standby that I can put up on a moments notice, not relying on anyone else to validate my patriotism by displaying flags on my behalf. You ascribe the most superficial patriotic values to veterans and I think you insult them each time you do it. I do not pretend to read the minds of veterans. But I am familiar with the Oath of Enlistment our servicemen make. Their commitment is to preserve the constitution. As a shorthand you could say to preserve freedom. The word "flag" is not found in the Oath. If someone suggests that they made sacrifices so that "the flag could be proudly flown" then that is not literally true. That is a metaphor, the nuances of which a Boy Scout could grasp. Your abuse of the metaphor, in the service of what is essentially counterfeit patriotism, could be used to justify an endless series of flag raisings. Maybe next someone will call for putting flags at all parks, then maybe all light posts and utility poles. All the while a counterfeit patriot is saying "we must do this to honor the sacrifice of veterans", and if you don't do it then you are unpatriotic. To be frank it makes me sick to my stomach to see genuine patriotism abused in this way.
Jonathan October 17, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Jason, He was already elected and actively involved by the time of the first study session on this issue. He doesn't get any credit from me for being critical of this process retroactively. Mr Figueroa couldn't have made this mess all by himself. He had enablers, and Mr Keel and Mayor Grassi are among them. Mayor Grassi is at least self aware of his own missteps. Mr. Keel seems not to be.
Jason October 17, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Jonathan It is clear he has credibility from many, many others in our city evidenced by his 3 terms on the school board and recent win to council. I believe he doesn't need anything from you. Yes, study sessions that is where continuity should show up. However, none of the f-i-v-e longer-term council member, including Mr. Figueroa, provided it or agreed the process should be stopped as they all, except Figueroa, admitted. No agrument from me about Mr. Grassi. And where is Mr. Nye?
Jason October 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Mr. Keel has credibility from many, many others in our city as evidenced by his three terms on our school board and recent big win to our city council. I believe that he does not need anything from you. Here is a lesson for you: In study sessions is where "continuity" needs to show up. None of the five (yes, I am counting Figueroa) longer-term members provided continuity by stopping the process as they all, except Mr. Figueroa, admitted. As late as the night of the vote the five were still arguing about the process! No push back from me about Mr. Grassi. And, where is Mr. Nye?
Elmer Smith October 18, 2012 at 08:07 AM
The Congressional Research Committe, in it's 2004 report to congress, states that a flag should be "near", the State of Washington states that it should be"prominent" in display. If you look-up the definition of the word prominent the choice becomes clear.The Country is considered a living thing and thus the flag is considered a living thing.The location chosen is back away from view until it will be either to your immediate right or left as you travel along Bridgeport Way. The duck will be visible long before, so I guess the duck wins. Hooray for the UP for Art Organization.!!!
Elmer Smith October 19, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Jonathon; you leave yourself in a very deep hole with your remark " counterfeit patriotism" while addressing an outstanding veteran with extensive service to his country.He has earned the right by force of arms to express his view on the subject. Please temper your thoughts!!.
Tony Douglas October 19, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Very well put Mr. Smith!


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