Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Mysterious giant snowman rises again in Alaska

AP , ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

Michael Brasch photographs a giant snowman on Columbine Street in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday. The snowman, known as Snowzilla, was completed sometime late on Monday or early on Tuesday despite city orders that declared the snowman a public nuisance.

PHOTO: AP/ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS

A giant snowman named Snowzilla has mysteriously appeared again this year — despite the city’s cease-and-desist order.

It is the third year running that Snowzilla has appeared in Billy Powers’ yard in east Anchorage, to the delight of some and the chagrin of others. Powers is not taking credit. When questioned on Tuesday afternoon, he insisted Snowzilla just somehow happened, again.

In 2005, Snowzilla rose almost 5m. He had a corncob pipe and a carrot nose and two eyes made out of beer bottles. This year, Snowzilla is estimated to be 7.6m tall. He’s wearing a black stovepipe hat and scarf.

“Have you seen him?” Powers asked when reached by telephone at his home, the sound of excited children in the background. “He’s handsome.”

Snowzilla has consistently risen outside Powers’ modest home. His children — he is the father of seven — collected snow from neighbors’ yards to make the snowman big enough. Each year, Snowzilla got a bit bigger.

Not everybody in the neighborhood liked all the cars and visitors who came to see him.

City officials this year deemed Snowzilla a public nuisance and safety hazard. A cease-and-desist order was issued. The city tacked a public notice on Powers’ door.

City officials said the structure increased traffic to the point of endangerment and that the snowman itself was unsafe.

The mayor’s office on Tuesday issued a statement defending its move against Snowzilla.

“This property owner has repeatedly ignored city attempts to find ways to accommodate his desire to build a giant snowman without affecting the quiet, residential quality of the neighborhood,” the statement from Mayor Mark Begich’s office said. “This is a neighborhood of small homes on small lots connected by small streets. It can’t support the volume of traffic and revelers that are interested in Snowzilla.”

The mayor’s office says Powers appears to run a large junk and salvage operation from his home. He has violated land use codes for 13 years, the city said. He owes the city more than US$100,000 in fines and other assessments.

Powers said it is the city that has been difficult, not him.

“I have tried to jump through every goofy hoop they have sent to me. I have never been confrontational and it goes on and on and on and it is so goofy,” he said. “Some of it is unfounded, some is just outrageous.”

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