POCATELLO — It’s been two years since Pocatello’s city flag was called the worst in North America.
But after a wide-ranging redesign process that included input from the public and widespread media exposure, the new city flag will finally fly over the community this week.
The public is invited for the first official raising of Pocatello’s new flag, which will be held at City Hall at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
According to city officials, there will be a short program to highlight the process leading to the creation of the new flag and a ribbon-cutting by the Pocatello Chiefs. Members of the Pocatello Veterans Honor Guard will raise the flag.
“Pocatello has received worldwide recognition because of this effort,” said Mayor Brian Blad in a news release. “Everyone has had a chance to participate and have their voice heard. I’m excited about the result and excited to be raising this new flag for Pocatello.”
Those attending Tuesday’s ceremony will be given free stickers, stick flags and temporary tattoos of the new flag.
The creation of the new official city flag began in 2015 after officials were approached by residents who watched a TED Talk featuring radio producer Roman Mars. During his TED Talk, titled “Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed,” Mars noted that Pocatello’s former unofficial city flag was rated as the worst in North America by the North American Vexillogical Association.
That flag, which was designed as a logo in 1999, was never fully authorized as a flag, but nonetheless ended up as one. The only place it flew was outside the wastewater treatment facility. However, the logo on the flag, “Proud to be Pocatello,” can be found around the city.
In 2016, a Flag Design Ad-Hoc Committee was formed to facilitate the flag’s redesign. Mars even visited the committee to provide consultation on the redesign process.
“I just had to be here,” Mars said in April 2016. “It’s historic.”
Despite the initial negative publicity generated by the TED Talk, some local residents felt it gave Pocatello an opportunity.
“We had the opportunity to take our flag from worst to first and get national attention for it,” said Arlo Luke, a member of the Ad-Hoc Committee and an early advocate for the flag redesign.
Later in 2016, the committee accepted flag design submissions from the public. A total of 709 designs were submitted to the committee.
After input from the public, six final revised designs were released. Ultimately, the flag with the working title of MountainsLeft was chosen and approved by the City Council.
“This flag directly acknowledges the natural beauty of the area,” said Logan McDougall, the Flag Design Ad-Hoc Committee chairman, in a news release earlier this summer. “Like any good flag, there is also a fair amount of abstract symbolism such as acknowledging the area’s Native American history, our city’s role in transportation, and our local economy.”
The effort to create a new city flag received national media coverage, which included Mo Rocca visiting the Gate City for a segment on “CBS Sunday Morning.”
“I am proud of the committee and their commitment to seeing this effort through to the very end,” McDougall said. “It’s taken longer than anticipated, but we feel we have a flag that represents what Pocatello is and has to offer.”
Businesses and residents can pre-order a flag for pickup at Tuesday’s ceremony by contacting Anne Nichols at 208-234-6163 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The flags are 3 feet by 5 feet and cost $45.
Businesses that would like to sell flag-related merchandise at Tuesday’s event can also contact Nichols. Image files of the flag can be found at flag.pocatello.us.