This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The "cactus" that looks like an obscene hand gesture has come down.
A week after erecting a vent-cover that neighbors interpreted as a hand with the middle finger flipping them off, Riverton resident Darren Wood has removed the controversial covering.
"We're just glad that it's down and over with," said Sharon Easton, who lives up the hill from Wood's house and had a full view of the covering.
On Aug. 15, Wood put up a vent-cover he described as "abstract art" of a "cactus." But the Eastons and another neighborhood family who had been in a yearlong dispute with Wood considered the image a direct message to them.
In a statement he sent to The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday, Wood wrote that his "decision to place the controversial cactus would have made sense to only those involved."
Last week, Wood said that he would remove the vent art with an apology from the Eastons and the second family, the Torgersens.
Sharon Easton's husband, Mark, said he is trying to organize a meeting with Wood, but had "expressed to him that I am sorry for any discomfort that I have caused his family or him, and that I had no intent to do any harm to him when I called the city with my concern about safety."
The conflict started when the Woods excavated dirt from a hill on which the Eastons' and Torgersens' houses sit. The two families contacted the city, worried about the stability of the hill. Wood said he was forced to push back the timeline for completion of his home to conduct and pay for a soil test.
Next, a few months ago when Wood raised the frames for his house, the Eastons and Torgersens contacted the city, concerned that it was against code because it might be too high. The frames rose higher than most rooftops near Wood's lot and partially obstructed the Eastons' and Torgersens' eastern view of the mountains.
"We as a family are looking forward to seeing this chapter of a 3rd grade spat come to a close," Wood wrote in his statement, in which he added that the total costs of the interruptions reached $25,000.
The Eastons said the Torgersens are on vacation this week and aren't aware of the downed cactus.
"I'm sure they will be very happy that it's been removed," Mark Easton said. "And probably relieved."