Camping World's 130-foot flagpole spurs Wilsonville suit
The Wilsonville government filed legal action Monday, April 12 against Camping World, as well as Symonds Flags and Poles, for placing a flagpole without a permit at its location on SW Boones Ferry Road in March.
The city's legal department first sent a letter to Camping World March 4 demanding it remove the 130-foot pole, which has yet to carry a flag, by March 21. Poles over 30 feet require permitting.
After Camping World met with legal staff, the city extended the deadline to April 2 but the pole had yet to be removed. The city sent another notice to Camping World April 6 saying if it didn't reach out by April 9 the city would file a complaint with Clackamas County Circuit Court, and followed through with that action today.
Camping World did not return requests for comment.
According to a draft of the complaint the city planned to file, Bo Green, an agent of Symonds Flags and Poles, submitted an application on behalf of Symonds Flag and Poles (flag pole installer) and Camping World to construct a 130-foot flag pole at the property in October.
"Although City staff communicated with Mr. Green several times through email, he eventually abandoned the application," the lawsuit read.
Then, Camping World put up the pole anyway. The complaint says that the pole is located within 100 feet of power lines. City Attorney Barbara Jacobson said inspections, which are part of the permitting process, ensure that poles are properly installed and don't cause safety hazards.
"Although the flag pole is in violation of several sections of the Wilsonville City Code, the City's greatest concern is the safety of its citizens, especially once a flag is placed on the pole," the complaint read.
Along with removing the pole, the city requested that the defendants be fined $500 a day starting March 1 (the estimated day the pole was erected) and until the pole is removed, and that they pay costs and disbursements.
Jacobson said the city could have issued a fine through its own municipal court but noted that the local court is not a court of record and that the issue would likely be sent to Clackamas County court either way.
This isn't the first time Camping World has been at odds with a city over poles.
According to a USA Today story, the city of Statesville, North Carolina filed a lawsuit against Grander RV (owned by Camping World) for erecting an American flag on a pole that was larger than what the city permitted in 2019.
"The flag isn't coming down. It's the only thing I know for certain," Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World, told the publication at the time. "I know I'm going to die. I know I'm going to pay taxes. And I know I'm not taking the flag down."
According to a Fox article, Camping World and the city of Statesville reached a settlement, stipulating that the company pay over $14,000 in fines and that the flagpole remained upright upon rezoning.
Jacobson said Camping World told the city it wouldn't erect the flag until the issue was resolved. If it does so, she said that would create more problems.
"It would because we don't know if the pole is safe to hold anything, let alone a very large flag," she said.
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