Forgive the greed, remain strong

This is an open letter of forgiveness to Robert Tager of Lynnwood, and Grant Walsh of Stanwood:

My aunt and uncle’s home was destroyed by the Oso landslide on March 22. They survived. Most people didn’t. The property you own is next to theirs. Because of the landslide, the city of Darrington was cut off from one of only two roads the citizens of that city used to commute to work and access the rest of the region. An access road owned by Seattle City Light was not buried by the slide and was needed to provide access to Darrington; access that would not have been possible without easement rights of several properties including yours, and my aunt and uncle’s. The state offered most property owners $500. You refused. You demanded $180,000 and settled for $80,000.

In the wake of a natural disaster, great acts come. A family friend bolted into the wreckage of the landslide to dig out my uncle and my aunt when even rescue workers wouldn’t because of safety concerns. His great act was heroic. You held up a much needed road giving access to medical services and jobs until you were paid an astronomic fee. Your act was villainous.

The only way we as a community, as a people, can combat acts of villainy and terrorism is to ultimately make sure the poison left behind doesn’t spread — we all need to find the salve of forgiveness and apply it to your wounds of greed. To that end, I myself would like to start what I can only hope will be a positive tidal wave — I forgive you.

The road got built, a town was saved, and wounds are healing. The bumps on the way only serve to strengthen the sense of family, community and general togetherness we all naturally experience. In spite of you, we as a whole remain strong; Oso strong.

Michael Aylesworth