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.