Edmonds’ mandate to cut down a tree leads to work of art

EDMONDS — Evan and Nancy Porrelli are used to attracting attention with their house. For years, they decorated their home with Mariners memorabilia — so much so that neighbors took to calling the place the “Mariner Mansion.”

The Porrellis are going for a new theme these days.

So they weren’t upset when the city of Edmonds told them to cut down the tree at the front corner of their property because it was growing into the phone lines.

“My husband always thought the tree looked like a peace sign, and he always said that if the city made us cut it down that he would carve it into one,” Nancy Porrelli said.

And that’s exactly what they did.

A 10-foot-tall giant hand forming a peace sign now sits at the corner of 238th Street and 102nd Place. It was carved earlier this month by Tomas Vrba, who lives in Everett but is originally from Slovakia. The project took Vrba about two days using only a chain saw and a sander. Vrba, who is a wood and stone sculptor, said this is the first peace sign he has ever carved.

Vrba enjoyed the attention that his work attracted.

“The fun part of doing this was stopping all the time and interacting with people,” Vrba said. “People started to honk once they could see the fingers [forming a peace sign], and literally every car stopped or honked as they drove by.”

Nancy Porrelli, who has lived in the house with her husband for more than 30 years, is looking forward to decorating the peace sign once it’s been stained and sealed. She’s thinking she could paint the peace sign Husky, Mariners and Seahawk colors depending on the season. And even red, green and white for Christmas.

Neighbors have been snapping photos of the new artwork, even late at night, Nancy Porrelli said.

Why a peace sign?

“We both grew up in the ’60s, and that’s just us,” Nancy Porrelli said.

Neighbors already are calling their house “The Peace House”.

“I’ll take the peace sign over the tree any day,” she said.

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