WALLA WALLA, Wash. - A Walla Walla toy store's legal battles have finally come to a close. Last month, the city painted over the store's iconic purple octopus mural after more than two years of court rulings and appeals.
When the city painted over the mural on Main Street, store owner Bob Catsiff was left with a blank, brown wall and a nearly $100,000 bill. The city's sign code calls for a $100 fine per day for any violation.
"We had a good run at this and I appreciate everyone's support. It was just so wonderful that everybody, not everybody, but such a large percentage of people really supported me," said Catsiff.
He and the mural's artist, Aaron Randall, are obviously said their creation is now covered. But they knew what they were up against when it was painted in 2010. Now, Catsiff said it's time to move forward.
"I've devoted enough time to the outside of the store and this is an integral part of making this the best toy store in the world. But I have a lot of things inside the store I want to do," Catsiff said.
His $100,000 bill was cut to $10,000 with this settlement, under the condition that Catsiff complies with the city's sign code from now on. But at this time there are no plans to replace the purple octopus.
"I miss it. Why did they take the beautiful picture down," asked little Jasmine Sphuler.
"She looked up and said, mom, what happened to the picture?! She started to cry and I said, Jaz, why are you crying. She said, it was so beautiful! Is the store gone," said Jasmine's mom, Lizzy Sphuler.
The store isn't going anywhere. It's still open seven days a week. And the mural lives on in postcards and puzzles that are sold in the toy store.
"The object was not to drive this business out of business and off of Main Street in Walla Walla. It is a valuable business downtown and adds to the retail vitality and mix of businesses we have there. We appreciate that and we want to see that continue," said City Manager Nabiel Shawa.
Shawa said the city's sign code was created more than 20 years ago and is meant to preserve the historic downtown. He and Catsiff said they're 'content' with how this whole ordeal panned out.