Octopus mural should have been embraced

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Walla Walla has changed a lot since I came here over 30 years ago. Back then we were a town synonymous with good schools, banks, churches, family-friendly activities and, of course, onions.

Now it’s all about wine. Wineries and tasting rooms are everywhere. One or two downtown would have been sufficient, but that’s not the case.

But when the Inland Octopus opened, giving Walla Walla its only toy store, and moved to his current location, conveniently located right next to a candy store and down the street from a book store, downtown seemed a little more family friendly. Then the mural (I refuse to call it a sign) was painted and the majority of town embraced it.

It took a few people to complain and out comes a 20-year old sign code and a fight begins.

Did anyone on the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce or the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation even stop to think about the free advertising that mural brought? Did they not stop to think that perhaps the mural image could have been trademarked and used for souvenir purposes such as T shirts, key-chains, even wine glasses?

If the current Council and other leaders are so unable to see outside the box it is definitely time they be replaced.

The mural was a bright spot among closed business, wineries and over-priced clothing stores.

Now the free advertising will be negative.

Some day we will all know for certain who began the campaign to have the mural removed. If they are downtown business owners, I wonder who will be next.

Alice Fowler

Walla Walla

Comments

ImJustSayin 1 year ago

You wine bashers better get a reality check! Without those wine tasting rooms and the tourist dollars they bring in, this town would be dead. Be guaranteed that people don't make plans to visit WW because of a dreadful painting. And last I checked, the store is still open.

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barracuda 1 year ago

BUT...... Has he paid his bills yet?

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loplover 1 year ago

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Mr. Catsiff winds up bankrupting. I doubt that any mom-and-pop store like his can afford the fines that have been accruing since the battle began. Last I heard, it was up to something like $70,000. Granted, he's the one that chose to fight the issue through the courts, so I suppose you could say it's his own fault. However, if he believed passionately in his cause, as it appears he did, to NOT fight because he might not be able to pay the city's fines if he lost would have been a chilling comment on an individual or small business' access to the courts. But then maybe that was the city's point all along, to show business owners that not only can they not fight City Hall, but they can be forced out of business by the expenses of trying.

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pleasant 1 year ago

Yes the wine idustry brings $$$ but not jobs, at least good quality sustaining jobs. And we could survive with out it, believe it or not.

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mossyrocks 1 year ago

Your comment is disgusting, insulting and totally ignorant. You obviously have no knowledge of the wine industry at all. So you are going to tell me that my husband, family and friends that have jobs in the wine industry do not hold good quality sustaining jobs??? Really? Wow.

I'm fifth generation here in Walla Walla. My family settled here around 1854. I can tell you my husband and other family members have good quality sustaining jobs in the wine industry. Some of whom have held their jobs in the industry since the early 80's. We live here; we spend our money here; we work with local business like CPAs, Law firms, stores, restaurants, etc. The money branches out; I hope you can understand that. As employees who live here we spend our money here, locally. The wine industry DOES bring money and jobs to this valley. I am thankful that I am able to live here in Walla Walla with all of my family. I get to see my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. If there was no wine industry in Walla Walla my husband, who holds a very specific 4 year degree would not be able to live in WW near both our families. We are thankful for the wine industry for providing him with his very good job, even if you are not. My family is thankful.

Side note. My husband and I loved the mural and we have no kids and work in the wine industry. It was beautiful but all this hate toward the wine industry is disgusting and has nothing to do with this issue. Support Local. Support Family. Support local businesses and that includes Toy Stores and Wineries, because they do employ local people, whether you think they do or not! Wineries are also owned and operated by long standing local residents.

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dogman12 1 year ago

The rights of the store owner to have a mural actually have nothing to do with the fact that downtown has become a wine entertainment destination. These are two different discussions about the direction of downtown.

I suggest that the "standards" people build on their victory. Wouldn't it be good for tourism if all downtown business employees dressed in period costume, maybe circa 1920? It could eventually expand so that each week of the summer featured a different decade. Of course, to get cooperation there would have to be some enforcement, and probably some fines, for appearing at work out of costume.

Better yet, staff all downtown businesses with song and dance folks, and every 15 minutes break out in a musical number. Great! The Seattle and Portland folks will love it!

1

gemstone1950 1 year ago

I neither drink wine or go to toy stores, but I enjoyed seeing the mural. To me the sign was the white rectangular one below the painting. Everyone paints their buildings and I've seen some I'd just as soon paint over. A sign is a sign and a painting or mural, is just that.

1

sepraj0429 1 year ago

If the octopus had been allowed to remain, that would have potentially opened the door for any/all other stores to do likewise. How would that have looked? It could have brought a ridiculous appearance to downtown. If the toy store owner had bothered to follow the regulations he knew about in the first place, then none of this would have happened anyway.

1

mossyrocks 1 year ago

TO PLEASANT:

Your comment is disgusting, insulting and totally ignorant. You obviously have no knowledge of the wine industry at all. So you are going to tell me that my husband, family and friends that have jobs in the wine industry do not hold good quality sustaining jobs??? Really? Wow.

I'm fifth generation here in Walla Walla. My family settled here around 1854. I can tell you my husband and other family members have good quality sustaining jobs in the wine industry. Some of whom have held their jobs in the industry since the early 80's. We live here; we spend our money here; we work with local business like CPAs, Law firms, stores, restaurants, etc. The money branches out; I hope you can understand that. As employees who live here we spend our money here, locally. The wine industry DOES bring money and jobs to this valley. I am thankful that I am able to live here in Walla Walla with all of my family. I get to see my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. If there was no wine industry in Walla Walla my husband, who holds a very specific 4 year degree would not be able to live in WW near both our families. We are thankful for the wine industry for providing him with his very good job, even if you are not. My family is thankful.

Side note. My husband and I loved the mural and we have no kids and work in the wine industry. It was beautiful but all this hate toward the wine industry is disgusting and has nothing to do with this issue. Support Local. Support Family. Support local businesses and that includes Toy Stores and Wineries, because they do employ local people, whether you think they do or not! Wineries are also owned and operated by long standing local residents.

1

dou1t2 1 year ago

I think the wine industry and the toy store are great for the WW Valley. What I would like to know, now that the city painted over the mural or sign, ( I guess it depends on what side you take) is it over? Let's say it's over, and BobCatsiff decides to wash his building, and in the process the paint the city used to paint over it, starts fading off. A month later, he washes his building again, and more washes off. Do this a few times more and there is a ghost of a sign, what do we do now? Prosecute Bob for washing his building, or do we inquire why the city used an inferior paint and probably charged an exoribant cost for the make over. There are plenty of buildings that are in disrepair, that need a new coat of paint, are we going after them? If I volunteered to power wash a building, and didn't set the pressure settings correctly, would/could I be in jeopardy for doing something illegal?............................................something to think about outside the box.........................................

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namvet60 1 year ago

Does put a different light on it!

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