Clock running for Inland Octopus appeal

A formal judgment against the mural was filed this week in Superior Court.

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WALLA WALLA -- A formal judgment has been filed in Walla Walla County Superior Court denying an attempt by Inland Octopus owner Bob Catsiff to keep his giant octopus mural.

Judge Donald W. Schacht signed the order Wednesday affirming his previous ruling in the lawsuit filed by Catsiff. Catsiff has 30 days from then to appeal to a higher court.

His attorney, Michael de Grasse, has told the Union-Bulletin Catsiff intends to appeal.

The judgment states the city's wall-sign size and height restrictions and permitting requirements are constitutional, valid and enforceable.

Schacht ruled in a written decision April 28 that Catsiff failed to prove the city sign code is unconstitutional.

Catsiff commissioned the painting of the giant purple octopus above the entrance to his leased toy store at 7 E. Main St. last Labor Day weekend. He didn't have a permit and the city ultimately ordered him to remove the mural or otherwise bring it into compliance with the sign code because it's larger than the code allows for wall signs.

Catsiff appealed to Schacht, claiming the sign code infringes on his right of free speech, is overbroad and vague.

Schacht denied and dismissed those claims.

The mural can stay in place until court appeals are exhausted, which could take years. Meanwhile, $100-a-day fines -- now about $23,000 -- against Catsiff that began Oct. 14 will continue accruing as long as the mural remains. He will have to pay if the city ultimately wins in a higher court.

The court judgment signed by Schacht on Wednesday also awards the city $200 in costs against Catsiff.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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