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American flag placed in the center of the Oregon dam and officials don't know who did it

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 12:31 p.m. CDT
An American flag appeared in the center of the Oregon dam on Friday. Police and fire officials said they do not know who placed the flag, but cautioned again that the dam is very dangerous and urged boaters and others not to venture near it. Photo by Earleen Hinton

Local officials have no idea who placed an American flag on the Rock River dam in Oregon or how they did it.

Oregon Police Chief Darin DeHaan said Tuesday that he has received no calls about it but noticed it there last Friday.

"Nobody mentioned seeing anyone placing it," he said. "I don't know if someone designed it to float down from the buoys or what."

Oregon Fire Chief Don Heller was equally baffled. "I don't know [how it got there]," he said Tuesday. "It just appeared one day last week."

The flag waves from a pole positioned at the top of the dam, near its center. It appears to be securely fastened in place.

O.K. Welty, owner of Rock River Outfitters, located near the dam, said he is also in the dark about the flag's appearance.

"We do not know how it got there," he said. "We posted a picture of it on our Facebook and website. No one has come forward yet."

Both DeHaan and Heller stressed the danger of getting too near the dam for any reason.

"I wouldn't encourage it," DeHaan said. "Doing anything around the dam is dangerous."

The Oregon dam has been the site of several accidental drownings over the years.

Reyes Perez, 37, Chicago, drowned July 4, 2012 when he waded off a small island just below the dam. His body was recovered the following day.

Fifteen-year-old Damiam Folwarkow, Chicago, got too near the dam while fishing at Oregon Park East on July 29, 2007 and was swept under the water by the strong current. He also drowned.

Samir Zukanovic, 29, Chicago, drowned Aug. 13, 2006 when he was fishing from the east bank of the river just below the dam and tried to wade to an island. The current also knocked him down.

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