The building had a flagpole on top that was little used because of the expense of replacing wind-damaged flags. Kite shop owners Tom Deen and Bill Hull sold Haglund a 16-foot windsock from Japan where such banners were flown for good luck. Soon after "The Rainbow Salmon" as Ivar called it, was unfurled on September 29, 1977, the City of Seattle notified him that it violated municipal code. This launched a good-natured dispute between Haglund and the City, documented almost entirely in verse. After an outpouring of public support for Haglund and a poetic public hearing, the City granted a variance for the windsock.
Although he had no intention of making money on the project, Haglund sold the building on January 18, 1985, for $5.5 million. Ivar Haglund died less than two weeks later. In his memory the windsock was flown at half-mast.