Update: We won this one!
I just received this email from the General Manager of Clackamas Town Center mall:
Thank you for contacting me with your feedback.
We honor, support and respect what the United States flag represents. The actions and letter that were communicated certainly did not convey that. And for this, we apologize. We can see how many were offended. It was never the intent to offend or show any disrespect. The U.S. flag will remain displayed at the kiddie train and in other locations within the mall. We wholeheartedly support those who fight to allow us and everyone else to display the flag. Clackamas Town Center hosts and sponsors events every year that recognize and honor these and other heroes and will continue to do so.
Dennis A. Curtis, CSM
Senior General Manager
Clackamas Town Center | General Growth Properties, Inc.
12000 SE 82nd Avenue | Suite 1093 | Happy Valley, OR 97086
Office 503.653.6613 | Fax 503.653.7251 | Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mall says U.S. flags on kiddie train must go
KATU: A fight over the American flag is brewing at the Clackamas Town Center in Portland, Oregon. The manager of the children’s train at the mall says he’s being forced to remove flags that he uses to decorate the train ride. Why? The mall told him the flags are against policy.
Thomas Phelps said he was floored when he got a letter from mall management telling him that the flags were “unapproved visuals.”
That reference didn’t sit too well with Phelps, who also happens to be a military veteran. “That is dedicated to veterans and military, police, firefighters, EMTs – all those people who daily put their lives on the line for us,” Phelps said. “That’s what it’s dedicated to. And if you’re going to call that a Christmas decoration or something, then I’m sorry, I don’t want to be around you. You’re not in my country.”
Phelps said he would understand if it was causing a problem but he said nobody has complained – not once.
And he isn’t alone in his feelings. Connie Marsden, a local grandmother, told us “It’s the United States. That’s our flag. We should be proud of it. Not be forced to take it off a little ride for the kids.”The mall did not allow our news camera on its property but a family who took a train ride on Sunday told us they enjoyed the ride and didn’t understand why the flags were a problem.
The Clackamas Town Center sent us a written response when we asked for comment. General Manager Dennis Curtis wrote in an e-mail “we honor, appreciate and respect everything the U.S. flag represents.”
Still, Phelps said mall management isn’t budging and he’s prepared to lose his job before he takes down the flags. “I may be fired, I may be thrown out of the mall, but I am not taking it down,” he said.
Clackamas Town Center is a private business. Guess they are entitled to their set their own rules. Such a shame that in America, the US flag is deemed an “unapproved visual.”
Click here to send a message to Clackamas Town Center. This is what I wrote (feel free to copy and paste to send as your message):
“Attn: General Manager Dennis Curtis
This is to inform you that I will not be shopping at Clackamas Town Center because of your policy of forcing Thomas Phelps to remove the American flag from the children’s train. Since the American flag, the symbol of our country, is unwelcome at Clackamas Town Center, I see no reason why I should spend even a dollar of my hard-earned money at your mall. There are plenty of other places to shop where patriotism and the American flag are still honored.”