With new FEMA money, county can buy all Oso mudslide tracts November 19, 2015
Timber company loses bid to avoid Oso mudslide litigation November 2, 2015
Interior secretary at Oso: Funding needed for scientific research October 16, 2015
Timber company says it bears no responsibility in Oso mudslide October 2, 2015
Judge limits extent of claims in Oso mudslide litigation August 26, 2015
Victims of Oso mudslide still await buyouts, 16 months later August 3, 2015
Oso survivors pay forward support they once received July 13, 2015
Couple shared tragedy, loss of Oso, but found love July 5, 2015
Oso mudslide trial pushed to June 2016 July 2, 2015
Study: Real cause of Oso mudslide still unknown June 27, 2015
Under a directive from Gov. Jay Inslee, flags at state facilities are to stay lowered for a full week in memory of those lost.
In Darrington on Monday night, state officials met with locals about reconnecting Highway 530 through the Stillaguamish Valley, among other topics. More meetings are scheduled tonight in Oso and Wednesday in Arlington.
“This is primarily going to be a listening session,” said Travis Phelps, a state Department of Transportation spokesman.
The slide buried more than a mile of Highway 530, east of Oso. So far, that’s taken a back seat to the human toll: 36 people have been confirmed dead with another seven officially missing.
The slide and subsequent flooding has destroyed or damaged some $6.7 million worth of homes and land, including 36 houses and a dozen manufactured homes.
State transportation officials aren’t yet sure what steps they’ll have to take to rebuild the highway, or how much it will cost, Phelps said.
Though nearly half of the buried route had been cleared of debris by last week, any future highway may need to follow a different course at a higher elevation. That’s because the slide covered the roadway in debris piled several stories tall in some places. Additionally, the collapse of the hillside rerouted the North Fork Stillaguamish River.
State transportation officials haven’t been able to check on the roadway in some areas because of the ongoing search for the missing.
“There are a lot of challenges put in place by this landslide, so it’s walking people through that step by step,” Phelps said.
Nearly 3,000 people live in the valley from the slide area and east into Darrington, according to the latest Census data.
An access road between the Oso and Darrington sides of Highway 530 remains closed to all but emergency workers and vehicles granted special permission, such as school buses.
Hundreds of workers and volunteers continue to comb the debris field.
Crews hope to pump floodwaters from a 22-acre area on the southeast portion of the slide by Friday or soon thereafter, said Doug Weber, Seattle-based chief of emergency management for the Army Corps of Engineers. Water has prevented searchers from exploring the area.
The Corps and Snohomish County public works staff have finished the bulk of work on a 3,000-foot temporary berm to shield the area from further inundation. They’re still working to build it higher.
“I know this berm will be helpful in getting that additional area searched,” Weber said.
By keeping the area dry, the berm also should make it easier to haul away debris, he said.
Eventually, the Corps of Engineers, county planners and others will need to discuss re-routing the Stilly through the valley. Weber said those conversations have barely begun.
Inslee and other state leaders plan to honor the dead at noon today by lowering the flags in front of the Capitol.
The governor issued a directive that flags at all state facilities in Washington be lowered to half-staff from noon until at least the end of the day next Tuesday. That marks one month since the mudslide, and is the same day President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the slide area.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, email@example.com.
Meetings on Highway 530
Snohomish County and the state Department of Transportation have scheduled meetings to discuss the Highway 530, which was blocked by the March 22 landslide. Two meetings remain:
Oso: today, 7 to 9 p.m., Oso Community Chapel, 22318 Highway 530.
Arlington: Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m., Stillaguamish Senior Center, main hall, 18308 Smokey Point Blvd.
More Local News Headlines
Storm hit Index particularly hard, bringing down hundreds of trees Bridge over I-5 enters final phases Lynnwood receives $5 million to widen 196th Street Stephanson to hold informal talks at libraries 4:27 p.m. Level 2 burn ban issued for Snohomish County 4:06 p.m. Woman seriously injured in six-car crash on I-5 3:37 p.m. Kids explain it all: 'Thanksgiving is all about turkeys' Jail might start housing Seattle inmates once again
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.