Walla Walla Toy Store's Octopus Mural Painted Over by City - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla Toy Store's Octopus Mural Painted Over by City

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The giant octopus mural painted above a Walla Walla toy store on Main Street is now gone.

There is nothing left of the giant purple octopus that adorned the wall above Inland Octopus Toy Store for the last two and a half years.

Even though it's only been part of the downtown landscape for a short time, visitors to Walla Walla and the towns people alike say it was a land-mark.

"I'm just surprised it's gone. I heard about it this morning. If he didn't paint over it, they were going to paint over it," Walla Walla resident Leslie Brown told NBC Right Now.

After two and a half years of legal battles, the city gave Inland Octopus Store Owner Bob Catsiff  a 30 deadline to bring his giant purple octopus into compliance.

But that deadline ended at midnight, and by 6:30 this morning, it was gone.

"City code is pretty clear. The court rulings have been very clear. That our sign code is legitimate and it doesn't violate constitutional rights," stated Walla Walla City Manager Nabiel Shawa.

The purple octopus mural stood at 29-feet tall and 22-feet wide, about 500 square feet too large for the city's sign ordinance.

Fellow business owner Scott Williams says getting hi* signage established was a process, but it was do-able.

"As far as driving by aesthetically, I thought the octopus did add a bit of character to downtown. But I also know you can't exclude one person from rules," believes Williams.

While rules are rules, the town is in an uproar over the loss of the beloved mural.

"We have so many statues and so many great art pieces down here and I considered the octopus to be one of them," said Walla Walla Community College student Abigail Hutson.

"I'm a grandma, you know, and we go in here quite often and now the kids are going to 'it's gone! Where did it go?!'," said Brown.

"It's an emotional issue. There's a lot of people in community and outside the community that liked the sign. So we recognize that. It's really not the way we desired this to go," said Shawa.

No word yet on what will happen now to the blank space on Main Street.

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