Whose Flag Is It Anyway?

Village of Oregon utility flags
Village of Oregon utility flags

Construction season brings with it a rainbow of underground utility-marking flags! Every year, curious Oregonians ask us questions about flags on or near their property - what each color means, what project they are associated with, and when work might start on those projects. While we are always happy to answer resident questions as best we can, we hope that this "Frequently Asked Flag Question" website can provide some useful basic information about how to read these flags to figure out who is out there and what they are looking for.


What are these flags in or near my yard?

Small plastic and metal flags, often accompanied by spray-painted lines, are commonly known as "utility flags." They are placed by utility owners, including the Village, gas and electric companies, and telecommunications companies, to show where underground utilities are located in a particular area.


Why and how are these flags placed?

Underground utility location marking, often called "locates," are critical for the safety of anyone doing or living near a construction project. Any person or entity looking to do underground work can request a locate by submitting a request (often called a "ticket") with Diggers Hotline.


What does each flag represent?

Different utility types use differently colored flags to mark their facilities. In Oregon, flags are coded as follows:

  • Blue = water (Village system, marked by Village crews)
  • Green = sanitary or storm sewer (Village systems, marked by Village crews)
  • Purple = storm sewer (Village system, marked by Village crews)
  • White with Village ID (downtown ONLY) = Village-owned electric or fiber (Village systems, marked by Village crews)
  • Pink = no Village utilities within the locate boundaries
  • Yellow = gas (Alliant-owned, marked by Alliant)
  • Red = electric (Alliant-owned, marked by Alliant)
  • Orange = telecommunication fiber (multiple owners - check flag for ID, marked by facility owner)
  • White with Alliant ID and blue lettering = planned excavation boundaries for Alliant-led project
  • White with Alliant ID = no Alliant utilities within locate boundaries


How long do I need to leave each flag in place?

Please leave locate flags in place for at least 10 days, unless you are certain that the work associated with the locate is complete.