Appeal of Inland Octopus decision filed

Bob Catsiff is seeking a review by the state Supreme Court of a ruling this month in local court.

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WALLA WALLA -- Inland Octopus owner Bob Catsiff this morning formally appealed a local judge's decision that allows the city of Walla Walla to enforce its sign regulations.

Catsiff is appealing Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht's ruling in a lawsuit Catsiff filed against the city in an attempt to keep his giant purple octopus mural, which is too large for a wall sign under the city code.

Catsiff's notice of appeal, filed in Superior Court today, is seeking direct review by the state Supreme Court. If that court declines to accept direct review, the case will be considered by the lower-level Court of Appeals based in Spokane.

A ruling on the merits of the appeal could take a year or longer. Meanwhile, the city is allowing the mural to stay in place, however $100-a-day fines -- more than $23,000 to date -- against Catsiff that began Oct. 14 will continue accruing. He will have to pay if the city wins in a higher court.

Schacht signed his formal judgment June 1, finding that the city's wall-sign size and height restrictions and permitting requirements are constitutional, valid and enforceable. Schacht ruled Catsiff failed to prove the city sign code is unconstitutional.

Catsiff commissioned the painting of the mural 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 later ordered him to remove the mural or otherwise bring it into compliance with the sign code.

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.

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

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