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King County, Washington (U.S.)

Last modified: 2006-07-29 by rick wyatt
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[King County, Washington flag] by António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 March 2002

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Description and meaning of the flag

The official King County flag shall consist of the county logo of a gold crown and encircling double gold rings on a rectangular green background. (Ord. 8227, 1987)
Jarig Bakker, 27 August 1999

Possible new flag

The Seattle Times reports today that an effort is being made (not for the first time, I believe) to change the logo of King County, Washington. In 1986, the County Council adopted an ordinance "renaming" King County after Martin Luther King, Jr. Previously, the name had honored William R.D. King, a long-ago US vice president. This change was ratified by the state legislature last year. The new logo has not yet been designed, but it would feature Dr. King's image in some way. People supporting this ordinance are in discussions with the King family, which must approve any design. The article can be read here: It says the change would affect "buildings and vehicles." I believe there is a county flag on display in the state capitol. The only place I remember seeing it regularly was in the Kingdome sports stadium, which was destroyed and replaced some years ago. Neither of the two stadiums which replaced it fly the county flag.
Andrew S. Rogers, 10 January 2006

If this was a renaming "in spirit" only, why is it needed to change the emblem and flag? After all, a crown is a suitable metaphor for either a M. L. King, or a R. D. King, or any other King. (And in the process we'd keep a nice simple flag and avoid having a flag with a face on it!)
António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 January 2006

That's an excellent question. I hadn't much thought about the fact that the crown on the county flag doesn't have any real relevance to William R.D. King, except for the symbolism of kings and crowns. You are certainly correct. In reading the sponsors' press releases, however, I see they want the King County symbols to mirror those of the City of Seattle and the State of Washington, both of which employ images of the men after whom they are named. For interested parties, the press release is here: and the ordinance with proposed amendments is here:
Andrew S. Rogers, 17 January 2006

And today, that effort was successful. The county council has voted to change the existing crown to a representation of Dr. Martin Luther King. No specific design yet exists, however. The article below states that county executive Ron Sims will come up with the new design and submit it to the council for their approval. No time frame was given for when this design might be revealed.

The official press release can be found here: It includes a link to a PDF file tracing the history of King County seals over the years.
Andrew S. Rogers, 27 February 2006