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A Stars and Stripes whodunit on the Rock River

Flag flies on dam in Oregon; officials stress danger of action

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Earleen Hinton/Shaw News Service)
An American flag appeared Friday in the center of the Oregon dam on the Rock River. Police and fire officials said they do not know who placed the flag, but cautioned that the dam is dangerous and urged boaters and others not to venture near it.

OREGON – 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 the flag 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.

O.K. Welty, owner of Rock River Outfitters, located near the dam, said he, too, doesn’t know how the flag got there.

“We posted a picture of it on our Facebook and website,” Welty said. “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 drownings over the years.

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

Damiam Folwarkow, 15, of 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, of 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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