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VIDEO: Eagle Rock Flag Flies Next to Stars & Stripes off the 2 Freeway

The story behind the only community flag evidently permitted in the City of Los Angeles.

If you drive east on the 134 freeway past Glendale toward the 2 freeway interchange, you will see an exit sign that points to “Harvey Dr.” Under those letters is a single word—“Eagle,” with the “Rock” curiously missing. (See photo.)

If you look carefully (traffic is notoriously fast and erratic here) you will notice that the latter half of our neighborhood’s name has been painted out and obscured.

Late last month, I brought this to the attention of Eagle Rock’s unofficial mayor, Michael Nogueira, a prominent local entrepreneur who heads the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce and is the vice president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council.

It was early morning and I had a rendezvous with Nogueira on Harvey Drive, which lies on the northwestern periphery of Eagle Rock, near the 2 freeway.

“We’ll have to contact DOT,” said Nogueira, looking concerned, and referring to the Department of Transportation. “They’re the ones responsible for freeway signs.”

Chances are you haven’t noticed this peculiar sign—Nogueira hadn’t, for example—unless you drive regularly along that particular stretch of the freeway.

If you drive past the sign going north on the 2 freeway, you will see a gigantic, green flag with a thick golden stripe at the top, fluttering in the wind to your left, directly next to a Stars and Stripes.

Look closely and you’ll notice that the flag depicts a soaring eagle and the words “Eagle Rock” splashed in large white letters across it.

A flag of—and for—Eagle Rock? Did you know such a thing exists some 90 years after Eagle Rock ceased to be a city?

Turns out that not only does Eagle Rock have its own flag but that, according to Nogueira, it’s the only community in all of Los Angeles to have its own flag.

Nogueira, who put up a new flag that morning to replace an older one damaged by winds (see video) explains how that happened.

As he tells it, Eagle Rock made a deal with city authorities some eight years ago to allow three cell phone towers to be erected off Harvey Drive on the condition that the community be allowed to fly its flag atop one of the towers.

(The cell phone companies wanted to build towers that resemble fake pine trees, but community leaders lobbied for towers that look like flag poles, according to Nogueira.)

The deal was evidently orchestrated by City Councilmember Nick Pacheco, the predecessor to Councilmember José Huizar, around the time Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took office.

And so it is that the flag of Eagle Rock flies atop a cell phone tower that belongs to Verizon. The cell phone company responsible for maintaining the U.S. flag is AT&T, according to Nogueira. The third tower, owned by Nextel, is supposed to manage a California flag, which is conspicuously absent.

Here’s another bit of trivia you probably didn’t know: The Eagle Rock flag—each flag is 15 feet by 25 feet and has a life of roughly three years—costs a packet. Can you guess approximately how much a single flag costs? Tell us in the Comments section below.

jayres October 05, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I want a smaller size verson of that for my home!
Joanne Turner July 07, 2013 at 01:20 AM
The three cell-phone companies on this project, Verizon, Nextel, and AT&T, promised Eagle Rock a community improvement grant of $60,000 in exchange for our support of the installation of the three towers. Representatives from The Eagle Rock Association (TERA), Eagle Rock Community Preservation and Revitalization (ERCPR), and the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce all attended meetings, hearings downtown, and wrote letters in support. The companies wanted only one organization to administer the funds, and TERA was chosen because we put in the most time and effort, plus we marketed our strengths and accomplishments more thoroughly and professionally then the other two organizations did. As president of TERA at the time, I met countless times with Verizon representative John Koos, the main guy for negotiations. Because Verizon had done most of the legwork on the part of the companies, it was agreed that the $60,000 grant would be split equally between Nextel and AT&T. Once the City approved the project after many months of hard work by local volunteers, Nextel immediately submitted a $30,000 check to TERA. AT&T reneged on its agreement, the amount of which is a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, that company makes each month off of those towers. Local knee-jerk hotheads soon raised a fuss over TERA's administration of the money, and the next TERA president carefully negotiated an Eagle Rock flag project, something everyone seemed to be able to agree on. Credit for the flag's design, by the way, goes to John Urquiza, a graphic designer who was instrumental in keeping McDonald's from demolishing the Security Pacific Bank building (now Chase) and replacing it with an illegal drive-through fast-food joint back in 1995.
Ajay Singh (Editor) July 07, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Many thanks for that detailed history, Joanne. Disappointing to hear that AT&T reneged on its agreement. Did TERA or any other organization in Eagle Rock do anything to coax AT&T into complying with its agreement and behaving like a more responsible corporate partner?

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