Beloved 12th Man freeway flag gets a major upgrade

It all started with a Saints logo on the roof. Then there was beer, a crazy friend, a momentarily out-of-the-house wife and now, after many incarnations, a 600-foot flag with its own lighting system.

Oh, and goats, can’t forget the goats.

We’ve all seen it up on the hillside above I-90 near the High Point exit and many of us know New Orleans transplant Mike Treuting, aka Dr. Mike, our local beloved mobile veterinarian, and his sign. But I wanted to hear the whole story, so today I trekked up the scary road to his house on the hillside.

At 900 ft, above I-90, Mike and his wife Piper live in a rambling cabin-like home underneath his now famous and newly reimagined flag. Until 2013, the Treuting’s had the New Orleans Fleur de Lis emblem blazing on their roof in a thousand gold lights. Then one night, when Piper was out of the house, Mike and his friend Miguel Galvan had a few beers and an idea. What about instead of the Saints logo, we put up a 12th man flag that people can see from the freeway?

And so, the story began.

In its first most primitive form, the flag was a 600 square foot blue tarp with a 12 painted on it in white paint. Miguel (of Four Paws Grooming) would climb a ladder 30 feet in the air and tie it to two trees above the house. Successful at first, alas, the white paint flaked off within two weeks.

Next, they tried painting over glue, hoping that would keep the paint from flaking, but that didn’t work either. After trying and failing 12 more times, they finally had success with a twelve cut out of a white tarp that they then glued to the big blue tarp. For six seasons, the flag flew, weather permitting, much to the delight of many football fan freeway drivers.

Enter Mike Flood, North Bend resident, and the Vice President of community outreach for the Seahawk organization. Flood, like the rest of us, had seen the flag when driving westbound on I-90 and wanted to find out who was behind it. He contacted the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to get Mike’s name and then called to let him know how much the organization appreciated the sign.

February 2020 rolled around, and even though Dr. Mike and Miguel had been dropping the sign during our crazy PNW weather, it needed to be replaced. They decided the time had come to get a professionally constructed flag and connected with Rainier Industries through Mike Flood to have one made.

A new flag, one that could take hits from our weather without being lowered, along with hardware and lights would cost $2500. The Treuting’s used the cost of the flag as a community fundraising opportunity to fund the flag and raise money for Valley Animal Partners. VAP is a local nonprofit whose goal is to raise funds to help Valley seniors, disabled, veterans and families with limited income, spay or neuter, vaccinate, microchip and provide emergency medication for their pets. All funds donated after the flag was funded would go directly to VAP.

In March they reached their goal and donated $400 extra to VAP. The flag was constructed and on Thursday they raised the new flag with the help of Blitz the Seahawks mascot, Miguel and Otis & Eddie the goats that accompanied us up the hillside today when I visited. The flag goes up just in time for the season opener tomorrow vs. the Atlanta Falcons on FOX at 10:00 am.

As Dr. Mike would say Geaux Hawks!

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  • Thanks to all involved for this happy day and comforting reminder of how lucky we are. We all look for that flag and we thank them for their kindness in helping us smile during these crazy days.

  • It’s been something that brings a smile to my face everytime I drive into Issaquah. Thanks to all the people who’ve helped to make this sign possible.

  • Living Snoqualmie