Photos: Walla Walla paints over purple octopus mural

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The deadline for a shop owner to remove a downtown mural has come and gone. It appears the city of Walla Walla took matters into their own hands early Thursday. City crews painted over the giant purple octopus mural above the Inland Toy Store.

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin posted this photo saying city workers came in overnight and painted over it.

After more than two years of court battles the octopus was covered in a reddish color that matched the bricks on other Main Street storefronts.

The deadline to take the giant purple octopus mural down was Wednesday. Controversy has swirled around the story since the mural was painted on the Walla Walla toy store.

Catsiff has lost every court decision in the sign code dispute that started in September 2010 and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Store owner Bob Catsiff is out of legal options and sent an open letter to the media Tuesday. He insists it's an expression of free speech and doesn't violate city law.

Fines have piled up and the city may be poised to break out the rollers.

Even if the mural is ultimately painted over, the city has no plans to roll over on the fines owed.

Walla Walla intends to collect around to $90,000 for code violations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.