Beloved Octopus Mural Removed By City Overnight

A beloved octopus mural was removed by the city of Walla Walla, Washington overnight. The 550-square-foot purple octopus mural was part of the Inland Octopus toy store front for over two years.

Bob Castiff, owner of the toy store, painted the giant purple octopus mural in 2010, despite the city’s refusal to grant him a permit. Walla Walla officials state that the mural is in violation of city codes which prohibit excessively large signs.

As reported by the Union Bulletin, Castiff contends that the artwork was a mural, not a sign. Additionally, he asserts that if the mural were a sign, then the city is guilty of “selectively enforcing” the sign code. Castiff refers to several examples of businesses that have been allowed to display signs that do not comply with city code.

Castiff and the city of Walla Walla spent two years in a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The final decision of the Supreme Court confirmed all earlier findings granting Walla Walla the right to enforce the sign codes against Castiff.

Walla Walla reportedly gave Castiff 30 days to remove his mural. Although Castiff states he sent the city a letter in an attempt to compromise, the beloved octopus mural was removed by the city.

A group of Walla Walla citizens started a Facebook page titled “Save The Endangered Purple Octopus.” The page has received 5,158 likes from fans of the purple octopus mural. Residents expressed their anger as they realized the city painted over the purple octopus overnight.

City officials maintain that Castiff was well aware of the city ordinance before he painted the mural. They reportedly offered to help him design a sign that was compliant with the codes, but he declined.

Castiff eventually ran out of options and the beloved octopus sign was removed by the city. Castiff hasn’t mentioned whether he plans to replace the mural.

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