Time to move on from the Octopus flap


The slate is clean — literally — in the brouhaha over the giant octopus mural above the Inland Octopus toy store.

On Thursday the city of Walla Walla, after more than two years of legal wrangling, painted over the mural that violated the downtown sign code specifically because of its humongous size.

If toy store owner Bob Catsiff wants to paint another cute and whimsical mural (or anything else he desires) above his store, he is free to do so as long as he follows the necessary steps required by law and conforms to the restrictions imposed by the sign code. That did not happen.

This dispute has never been about the artistic worth or quality of the mural or its content.

It did not matter what the image looked like or what message it conveyed. If a wine shop had a mural-used-as-sign of a vineyard or wine bottles but it was bigger than allowed by the sign code it would be a no-go.

The painting as art was good. The concept was clever, charming and a lot of fun. And the mural was excellent as a sign as it did convey the spirit of the toy store below.

We would like to see Catsiff put up another fun (albeit smaller) sign/mural at 7 E. Main St. and use the artist who painted the mural in over the Labor Day Weekend of 2010.

If Catsiff goes in this direction — and we hope he does — he and city officials need to work together to make sure everything is in proper order before one drop of paint is put on that wall. Nobody wants to go through this kind of episode again.

The octopus mural dispute is over. It is time for everybody in the community to let it go. The slate is clean.

The possibilities are endless over a toy store.



Scooter says...

This whole thing could have been avoided if the store's owner had elected to work with the City administrators rather than, in defiance and the "dark of night," moving forward with a design that had already been rejected by the City (before any paint went on the wall).

It's quite possible, I think, that the owner could have painted exactly that same piece over his store (with the City's blessings) if he had simply been willing to negotiate with the City for some kind of exclusion from the sign ordinace as currently written. He knew, when it went up, that he was facing some substantial risk in ignoring the City's initial rejection of the "sign." I'm not sure, too, that he didn't get exactly what he was looking for . . . . a significant amount of "free" advertising that went national.

Though I liked the painting, and wish it were still there, I think we can all agree that such a Code is in place for a reason. We certainly wouldn't want to see "Hot Poop" paint a big mural, based on its namesake, on the front of its downtown store.

We all need to be reasonable and follow the rules. If we don't like those rules, then we should go through the legal processes available to us to try to change them.

Posted 29 March 2013, 2:45 p.m. Suggest removal

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