Revenge of 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

Snowzilla the giant snowman rose from the dead Tuesday morning after some holiday pranksters thumbed their noses at city orders and rebuilt him overnight.

When news of the controversial and world-famous Anchorage snowman's demise exploded on the Internet this week, hundreds of Alaska and Lower 48 readers had two words for the city of Anchorage and anyone else who criticized the crowd-pleasing giant: "Bah humbug."

And before dawn Tuesday, in downtown Anchorage, someone erected a small, misshapen snowman at the entrance to Anchorage City Hall: A crude mini Snowzilla brandishing a protest sign that read "Snowmen of the world unite!"

Others created a snowzilla.org Web site and began soliciting a legal defense fund for Snowzilla's creators.

The Powers family first built Snowzilla in their front yard in 2005. Their snowman became an instant celebrity, drawing local gawkers and international TV crews to their Columbine Street home.

But complaints trickled in from neighbors who didn't appreciate the increased traffic and noise at all hours.

Several weeks ago, city code enforcers -- acting when this year's giant snowman was half-complete -- declared Snowzilla a nuisance and a safety hazard. They banned homeowner Billy Powers from building an "extraordinarily large snowman." The city posted its stop-work order at the base of the snowman and on Powers' front door.

Stung by criticism of its decision to outlaw Snowzilla, the city went on the offensive against Powers on Tuesday afternoon in a press release.

A city spokeswoman said Powers has violated city land-use codes for 13 years and ignored city efforts to "accommodate his desire to build a giant snowman without affecting the quiet, residential quality of the neighborhood."

BAD BLOOD

When asked Tuesday morning about his other disputes with the city -- involving the old cars, tires and other junk he stores in his front yard -- Powers abruptly ended the interview and went inside his house.

"We've already had enough bah humbug," he said.

According to officials, the city has a lien against his property for $118,000, the amount of money Powers owes in a court judgement for ignoring repeated orders to clean up the yard.

Did the bad blood over the property dispute influence the city's decision to kill Snowzilla?

"It was certainly in the back of our mind but I think we would have done the same thing if it had been a different place," said Richard Fern, a city code enforcement officer.

All but one of the families on his block like Snowzilla, Powers said.

As proof, he produced a petition neighbors signed last week. One of them, Barbara Hosier, included a note saying the snowman is "the best thing that ever happened in Anchorage."

HOMAGE

At least for now, Snowzilla is back in a big way.

It's about 25 feet tall, taller than last year, sporting a new corncob pipe and carrot nose. When word of its resurrection spread around town Tuesday morning, Snowzilla's many local fans drove through the neighborhood to pay homage and snap photos.

It's clear the snowman was built quickly: It looks a little lumpier and broader in the hips than it did in previous incarnations.

Who built it? Magic, said Powers. Christmas magic. And that's what he'll tell city enforcers if they pay a visit, he said.

No one from the city plans a visit right now. No need to ramp up the antagonism, Fern said.

The city will not take any action related to Snowzilla until after the holidays, he said.

The city got concerned in the first place because of angry complaints from a neighbor last year, who mentioned drunks coming to see the snowman at night and other problems, Fern said.

The city didn't do anything about Snowzilla last year. This year, the code enforcers decided to post the stop-work order after it became clear that Snowzilla 2008 would be much bigger than last year, Fern said.

GODZILLA GUERRILLAS

Snowzilla has never been built so quickly, Powers said.

He refused to discuss who built the snowman or how many people helped it appear "magically" overnight. He wouldn't say if his own family was involved.

Several people who drove by the Powers house Tuesday morning gave the monster snowman a big smile and thumbs up.

"I think it's sad that we live in a community that would stop someone from building a snowman," said Jason Palmer, who stopped for a moment to check out Snowzilla while making a flower delivery in the neighborhood.

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


By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK
ebluemink@adn.com