A car pulling an empty trailer drives eastbound along Highway 530 in front of the Oso mudslide site on Thursday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A car pulling an empty trailer drives eastbound along Highway 530 in front of the Oso mudslide site on Thursday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Renaming ensures drivers know what happened on Highway 530

The brother of a slide victim says a 23-mile stretch is “sacred ground and that’s how it should be treated.”

OLYMPIA — A 23-mile stretch of Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington is getting renamed to ensure drivers understand they are traveling on hallowed ground.

It will be known as the “Oso Slide Memorial Highway” to honor and remember the mudslide five years ago that claimed 43 lives.

The Washington State Transportation Commission unanimously approved a resolution renaming part of the highway Wednesday morning.

“For me it’s not just a highway and it’s not pavement. It’s sacred ground and that’s how it should be treated,” said John Hadaway, whose brother, Steven Hadaway, was among those killed March 22, 2014.

The renamed stretch will be between mileposts 22 and 45 with signs inscribed with Oso Slide Memorial Highway. The signs, which will be 5-feet-tall and 4-feet-wide, will bear the date and time of the slide and the number “43.”

They may be ready for an unveiling at a commemorative event next month. So too will be a planned sculpture of the mailboxes that once served as a landmark to turn off the highway into the Steelhead Haven neighborhood.

Hadaway, who led the renaming effort, fought through tears as he spoke to commissioners.

“It’s an emotional thing,” he said. “This is another stepping stone for us.”

He was one of five people who addressed the panel.

This is a mockup of the Oso Memorial Highway sign. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

This is a mockup of the Oso Memorial Highway sign. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

“This is still very raw. We will never have closure,” said Dayn Brunner who lost his sister, Summer Raffo, in the slide. She was driving on Highway 530 toward Trafton for a side job trimming horse hooves when her Subaru was buried in mud.

“Having the sign is another step in the process to make sure the legacy of our loved ones lives on,” he told commissioners.

Family members in concert with community volunteers and Snohomish County parks officials are working to create a lasting memorial on the site. It would be located on a portion of 13 county-owned acres off the former Steelhead Drive and along Whitehorse Trail.

Most of the site will remain undisturbed with four acres along the trail developed into the memorial, according to a fundraising packet. It is meant to be a place of remembrance for families, survivors and first responders, and a place where visitors from outside the area can learn what occurred from a series of informational panels.

Family members and volunteers are working to raise $6 million to design and construct the memorial. They’re seeking $3.5 million in the state’s 2019-21 capital construction budget, which is expected to be acted on in April.

Lawmakers in the 39th Legislative District, where Oso is located, said Wednesday getting the full sum will be tough.

“We’ll do our best to get what we can,” said Rep. Carolyn Eslick, R-Sultan. “There definitely needs to be a place where people can go and learn what happened.”

Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, suggested one approach is to seek funding through multiple budget cycles.

“We’re committed to trying to help them get there,” he said.

Additional information on the memorial can be found online at slidememorial.com.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

WSDOT workers open up the Smokey Point Rest Area on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free coffee will be back soon at Smokey Point rest areas

Everett’s Silver Lake rest area for southbound I-5 drivers remains closed while WSDOT works on the facility.

The Everett Music Initiative team, (from left) Ryan Crowther, Nate Feaster and Michael Hannon. (Everett Music Initiative)
As Everett Music Initiative turns 10, downtown no longer a ‘ghost town’

The group will celebrate its birthday Thursday night with a party to kick off the eighth Fisherman’s Village Music Fest.

Everett
Pro skateboarding competition coming to Everett in August

Street League Skateboarding’s championship tour will be at Angel of the Winds arena for two days.

Drivers heading north on Interstate 5 will take a detour from Highway 104 to 220th Street SW and back to I-5 this weekend during nightly lane closures for Sound Transit light rail work. (Sound Transit)
Light rail work closing I-5 North lanes nightly this weekend

Crews need to close northbound lanes between 220th Street SW and Highway 104. Drivers have two detour options.

A Port Angeles police officer cordons off an empty lot in Sequim on Thursday as law enforcement officials investigate an incident in the area. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Man arrested in Sequim, connected to homicide, has Snohomish County ties

A dead woman was found in Bret Allen Kenney’s home, police say. He previously attacked Snohomish County Jail guards.

Cars drive through the intersection of Highway 9 and South Lake Stevens Road on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 9 to close this weekend in south Lake Stevens

Detours take drivers around the closure between 20th Street SE and 32nd Street SE from Friday night to Monday morning.

Empty shelves in the baby formula section at a grocery store in Lynnwood, Washington. (Jacqueline Allison / The Herald)
Amid baby formula shortage, local moms scrambling to feed babies

Shelves are bare and prices are up. But there are resources for Snohomish County mothers in need.

Everett
$1 million bail for Everett ampm shooting suspect

The suspect, 36, is accused of shooting an acquaintance Monday, dumping the gun in a dumpster and fleeing from police.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County seeks input on spending American Rescue Plan dollars

In-person events across the county will help guide more than $80 million in federal recovery money.

Most Read