Solemn ceremony as Highway 530 reopens

OSO — On Saturday morning, a crowd of more than 100 people gathered on Highway 530 near the giant spruce tree that stands as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the March 22 mudslide.

The sky was clear blue and the sun was bright overhead, unlike the rainy morning when the hill came down and wiped out the Steelhead Haven neighborhood.

Gov. Jay Inslee, joined by Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin and other community leaders and residents, was there to mark the reopening of the highway — a symbolic end to 10 frantic weeks of loss and recovery.

Before the road was to open at noon, those gathered were to walk the length of broken pavement and gravel through a newly carved depression through the mountain of mud where a neighborhood once stood.

It was mostly a moment for reflection. Inslee didn’t make a speech, instead talking one-on-one with people from Oso, Darrington, Arlington and points beyond.

“It’s nice for people to be here together for each other,” Inslee said.

He chatted with Dave Chapman, a bus driver for the Arlington School District who lives in Darrington, about the difficulties students and commuters have faced getting around the slide.

He also talked to Lindsey Tonkyn, the elected 2014 Timberbowl Queen of the Darrington rodeo, who came from Lyman in full western garb.

“This year’s rodeo is going to be different,” Tonkyn said.

At 9:30 a.m., Pastor Gary Ray of the Oso Community Chapel addressed the gathering.

“I believe we are better together, so thank you again for standing shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor,” Ray said.

Leading a prayer, Ray said, “Thank you, Lord, for this victory we’re celebrating today, the opening of this road.”

He then asked the people for a moment of silence, and the only sounds were the chirping of birds and the soft rush of the North Fork Stillaguamish River.

With that, the group of families, neighbors and friends began to walk down the road.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A log shows the depth of creosote penetration while Department of Natural Resources crews remove ropes from logs removed from Elger Bay, via helicopter, on Monday, May 10, 2021 in Camano Island, Washington. The logs were then shipped to a landfill. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Goodbye, creosote: Cleanup underway at Elger Bay salt marsh

The toxic wood preservative was once ubiquitous in Washington. On Camano, it threatens salmon.

Karen Moore
Civil attorney appointed to be Snohomish County judge

Karen Moore is a former deputy prosecutor. She also has experience as a pro tem judge and commissioner.

Douglas Ryner, 8, brushes twin cows Thelma and Louise at the Evergreen State Fair on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 in Monroe, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
11 days of glee: Evergreen State Fair ‘Back in the Saddle’

The fair was called off in 2020 due to COVID-19. Organizers are planning a revised event this year.

Man killed by train near Snohomish

The deceased, 45, was hit near Highway 9.

Detectives investigate a shooting near Silver Lake on May 11. (Everett Police Department)
Man dies after confrontation, shooting near Silver Lake

Everett police said he had been yelling and was aggressive toward people on a sidewalk north of the lake.

Eastside Tire and Muffler on Avenue D in Snohomish burns early Wednesday. (Snohomish County Fire District 4) 20210512
Snohomish tire store erupts in flames

The fire at Eastside Tire and Muffler was reported early Wednesday morning.

Crews contracted by the Washington State Department of Transportation for pavement work on the U.S. 2 bridge over the Pilchuck River are set to close one lane this weekend to replace and install expansion joints. (WSDOT)
U.S. 2 Pilchuck River bridge closure and work delayed

The Pilchuck River bridge east of Highway 9 was set to close to one lane this weekend.

Two E. Coli cases in Snohomish County; one child hospitalized

Authorities linked the cases to an outbreak in King County, possibly stemming from fresh produce.

No one hurt in Lake Bosworth house fire

Fire crews arrived at the scene to find a small home engulfed in flames. It was destroyed.

Most Read