AD Main Menu

City code officer slays Snowzilla

Elizabeth Bluemink
Billy Ray Powers hopes to put the finishing touches on this season's Snowzilla by the weekend so people can view the giant snowman at 1556 Columbine Street in Anchorage.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
A pedestrian passes a giant snowman on Columbine Street in Anchorage, Alaska, on December 23, 2008. The snowman, known as Snowzilla to many, was completed sometime late December 22 or early December 23 despite city orders that declared the 25-foot snowman a public nuisance. Homeowner Billy Powers claimed he had no information about its creation this year.
Michael Brasch of Anchorage photographs the giant snowman on Columbine Street in Anchorage, Alaska, on December 23, 2008. The snowman, known as Snowzilla to many, was completed sometime late December 22 or early December 23 despite city orders that declared the 25-foot snowman a public nuisance. Brash said, "If I'm going to get a picture of it, it better be before anybody bulldozes it down." Homeowner Billy Powers claimed he had no information about its creation this year.
Photo by MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News
Billy Powers in front of his Columbine Avenue home with Snowzilla the giant snowman on Tuesday December 23, 2008, which was built Monday night.
Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
One of several snowmen built on the sidewalk in front of City Hall lies broken in the gutter on Friday. The snowman squad apparently was built in a show of support for Snowzilla, the giant snowman on Columbine Street in Anchorage, which was built despite a ban by the city.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Snowzilla the giant snowman was built Monday night December 22, 2008 on Columbine Avenue in Anchorage, in defiance of a city order prohibiting its construction.
Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Snowzilla the giant snowman was built Monday night December 22, 2008 on Columbine Avenue in Anchorage, in defiance of a city order prohibiting its construction.
Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The giant snowman returned to Columbine Street in Anchorage Tuesday morning, December 23, 2008.
Billy Powers talks about the month-long effort to build, and rebuild after the recent strong thaw, a 16-foot snowman in the front yard of his Columbine Street home in East Anchorage, Dec. 15. The second version of the snowman, which Powers thinks is twice as big as the first, is over 16 feet tall.
People making the pilgrimage to gaze upon the 16-foot snowman, dubbed "Snowzilla", wait their turn to have their picture taken with him Dec. 22, on Columbine Street in Anchorage, Alaska. Creator Billy Powers, says he is stunned by the giant snowman's notoriety.
Snowzilla the giant snowman was built Monday night December 22, 2008 on Columbine Avenue in Anchorage, in defiance of a city order prohibiting its construction.
Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Snowzilla the giant snowman was built Monday night December 22, 2008 on Columbine Avenue in Anchorage, in defiance of a city order prohibiting its construction.
Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Snowzilla the giant snowman was built Monday night December 22, 2008 on Columbine Avenue in Anchorage, in defiance of a city order prohibiting its construction.
Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Luke and Mark Snigaroff have their picture taken with Snowzilla Dec. 22, on Columbine Street in Anchorage, Alaska. Creator Billy Powers, says he is stunned by the giant snowman's notoriety.
Allan Carraway brought his family to see Snowzilla and get some pictures Dec. 22, on Columbine Street in Anchorage, Alaska. Creator Billy Powers, says he is stunned by the giant snowman's notoriety.
Snowzilla the giant snowman was built Monday night December 22, 2008 on Columbine Avenue in Anchorage, in defiance of a city order prohibiting its construction.
Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A mother herds her children for a photo of Snowzilla Dec. 22. Snowzilla creator Billy Powers says the traffic on his street to see the giant snowman has been non-stop since a story was published in the Daily News.
People making the pilgrimage to gaze upon the 16-foot snowman, dubbed "Snowzilla", wait their turn to have their picture taken with him Dec. 22, on Columbine Street in Anchorage, Alaska. Creator Billy Powers, says he is stunned by the giant snowman's notoriety.
The giant snowman at the Powers home on Columbine Street dwarfs its maker, Billy, and cars rolling down the street Dec. 15. The 16-foot hand-packed snow sculpture has been a crowd pleaser, says Billy, with cars stopping by at all times of the day to see the snow sculpture.
The Powers' family giant snowman at their home on Columbine Street in East Anchorage has buttons made out of glass bottles, a corn cob pipe made from manila envelopes, and a top hat made from a collapsible hamper. The construction of the snowman was a family, and neighborhood, effort.
Snowzilla was beginning to take shape in Billy Powers' front yard before the city put an end to his plans. "The kids had spent hours and hours of work on it," Powers said Dec. 21, 2008.
BILL ROTH/ Anchorage Daily News

Anchorage's famous giant snow man, Snowzilla, finally met its match.

It wasn't the weather. It wasn't angry neighbors bearing shovels and pick axes.

It turns out Snowzilla's biggest foe -- the one who felled the controversial but much-loved giant -- was a notice-bearing city code enforcement officer.

That's right, Snowzilla was abated.

It was just a few years ago that 16-foot-tall Snowzilla arose in a residential yard in Airport Heights, launching an annual procession of local gawkers and an international media blitz.

Camera crews came from Russia and Japan.

But Snowzilla attracted a lot of naysayers too.

Not everybody in the neighborhood liked all the cars and visitors.

So, city officials have deemed Snowzilla a public nuisance and safety hazard.

A few weeks ago, city code enforcers left three red signs at Snowzilla's bottom body ball telling its builders to cease and desist.

The city also tacked a public notice on the door of the Powers family home at 1556 Columbine St. The Powers family and some of their neighbors have been building Snowzilla in the Powers' front yard since 2005.

When the notices went up, Snowzilla still didn't have a full torso or head.

"The kids had spent hours and hours of work on it," Billy Powers said on Sunday.

City officials involved in the cease-and-desist order could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

But on Dec. 11, the city notified the Airport Heights community council about its decision to abate Snowzilla, telling council members that the two-story snowman caused increased traffic to the point of endangerment and that the structure itself was unsafe.

The city also asked council members to watch out for continued construction and to consider weighing in on Snowzilla at an upcoming, council members said.

At last Thursday's community council meeting, no one offered a Snowzilla-related motion. "We're not really a policing agency," said Becky Kurtz, the council president.

Now, Snowzilla is just a big pile of snow rubble.

Powers said he doesn't plan to rebuild.

He can't.

Under the city's nuisance abatement order, if he tries, he could get arrested.

Find Elizabeth Bluemink online at adn.com/contact/ebluemink or call 257-4317.

Submit a Snowzilla photo
By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK
ebluemink@adn.com