Banner Effort

Shady Cove city councilwoman Alison Curtis stands under one of approximately 75 daffodil flags placed around the small river town as part of a beautification project she spearheaded. 3/7/08 Denise Baratta

Alison Curtis says she and a group of friends spent many afternoons discussing how to "beautify the city in a practical manner," especially along Highway 62, which cuts right through Shady Cove.

On a whim six years ago, they hung up a series of patriotic flags. The response was overwhelmingly positive. But flags and banners take a beating on the windy highway corridor and are pricey to purchase and replace, and funding wasn't readily available.

Alison Curtis

Age: 77

Job title: "Flag Lady" for the Greater Shady Cove Boosters

Job description: Coordinates the purchasing, storage, delivery and setup of more than 60 seasonal flags that are rotated along Highway 62 in Shady Cove six times a year

Salary: "Oh, am I supposed to be paid?"

Education: Four years of college

How long at the job? Six years

If you could have your dream job today, what would it be? "I think I have it," says Curtis, who retired from a smoggy Los Angeles commute to Shady Cove in 1994. "Moving to the Pacific Northwest has been a dream of mine for years and anything I can do for the city, I consider my dream job."

"I'm the one who talked the Greater Shady Cove Boosters into financing the flag project," says Curtis, who also sits on the City Council and is a member of Valley Ladies, a local civic organization.

"It's an expensive proposition and the Boosters use a lot of their money from fundraisers for this. We're very fortunate it fits in with their whole mission of beautifying our city."

These days, members of the Flag Committee store, deliver and help hang colorful flags in front of the town's 60-plus active businesses.

Every two months, the flags are changed, following a seasonal cycle: snowflakes, daffodils, patriotic symbols, summer flowers, fall leaves and poinsettias. In March, volunteers traded out the winter snowflakes for spring daffodils, marking the introduction of Shady Cove's annual Daffodil Days.

"Different boosters volunteer to do it each time — we have a sign-up sheet with a date and a time," Curtis says. "We're very fortunate to have somebody with a large garage who is willing to store them. And his wife gets them out and brings them down. Then I call the city to do the sides of the bridge. It's a real team effort."

Some businesses have been so supportive of the project they come out and hand a check to the person who's putting the flags up, says Curtis. "This really helps because every time we change a set of flags, we're talking over $600."

The flags are ordered, stocked and sold to the Boosters at a reduced rate by Bob and Vicki Richmond, owners of Heather Cove Florists in Shady Cove, who are happy to sell extras to tourists or homeowners.

"Everything done in this town is done volunteer," says Curtis. "We love our town and we want people to enjoy it as they go through."

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