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Contractor under fire for displaying ‘thin blue line’ flags

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — The owner of Oregon Concrete Solutions is now under fire for displaying the “thin blue line” flag on his vehicles and equipment and now the company’s contract renewal is in jeopardy. Christopher Collins, the owner, said he put the flags up to show support for law enforcement.

“These flags being on my trucks was never any response to Black Lives Matter or anything that’s been going on recently,” Collins said.

The flags are a sign of support for law enforcement but the symbol has also been used to signal white supremacy or opposition to the ongoing racial justice movement. Collins said the meaning of these flags has been taken out of context.

“It was a simple tribute to those men and women that often times are performing a thankless job,” he said. Now Collins is facing backlash from City Commissioner, Jo Ann Hardesty who said in part in a statement on May 27, “You can count me as one of the Portlanders who finds this imagery deeply offensive.” Hardesty told FOX 12 in a statement that Collins was asked to remove the flags but declined to do so.

“PBOT staff reached out and talked to the owner, made him aware of community complaints and concerns, and kindly suggested they remove this anti-racial justice symbol from their work trucks,” Hardesty said. However, Collins, said he was never asked by anyone from the city to take down the flags.

“I want to be clear about that nobody has asked me to remove the flags,” he said. Collins also said he was told by a city employee that even if the flags were to be removed, the city likely wouldn’t renew his contract, which expires in August. Hardesty and Collins do have a meeting set for June 11th via Zoom.

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