Ear: Flag

Fun rerun from June 6, 2008: Lynda Stewart called about a little ritual she sees every morning from her window at work at a local dental office. At 7 a.m., David Armstrong walks out of the Rose River Inn Bed & Breakfast at 1510 Franklin Ave., which he owns with his wife, Pam, and down the hill, carrying a neatly folded American flag.

He enters the narrow park just behind the inn on 15th Street, which once was the location of Astoria's first post office, and raises the flag. He has done this daily for almost two years now.

However, when the Armstrongs moved to the inn, the flagpole was missing its rope, and the park was a mess. The tourists from the sternwheelers moored at the 17th Street Dock were driving by in tour buses, and the couple were a bit glum that the park was not putting Astoria's best face forward.

So, the Armstrongs took matters into their own hands. They went into the lot, trimmed all of the bushes and spruced it up. A red, white and blue flag flying over the park would have completed the scene nicely, but the flagpole still had no rope.

Armstrong called Dick Magathan at Astoria Parks and Recreation Department about it, and Magathan arranged for an Astoria Fire Department fire truck to come by and string the flagpole's rope. Now Magathan makes sure the appealing little park looks trimmed and tidy all of the time. When Clatsop Post 12 American Legion heard about the newly rigged flagpole, they donated a flag — the one Armstrong raises every morning.

All of which just goes to show you what one couple's determination can do to make things a bit better for everyone. And if you're ever walking down 15th Street, just south of Franklin Avenue, stop, take a look and maybe wander into that park — it's a little piece of history.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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