OSO — If they get their way, a stretch of Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington will get a second name.
The campaign has its advocates: families who lost loved ones, locals who live across the Stillaguamish Valley and volunteers and first responders who waded into the mud in search of the missing.
They are planning to write the Washington State Transportation Commission to rally support for naming part of the roadway the Oso Memorial Highway.
“This is something we have to do,” said John Hadaway, whose brother, Steven Hadaway, was among the 43 people killed in the 2014 mudslide.
It is one aspect of efforts under way to create a memorial at the site of the mudslide.
Earlier this year, families announced plans for the memorial. They’ve been working with Snohomish County Parks. The project is to be funded through donations. The memorial committee is made up of volunteers, and contributions go directly to the project.
It will likely take upwards of $3 million to build the memorial, according to the project website. That includes design, permitting, prep work and construction.
Some pieces may be done sooner than others. One such detail is a planned sculpture of the mailboxes that once served as a landmark to turn off the highway into the Steelhead Haven neighborhood.
Getting the stretch of highway renamed fits into the group’s vision.
“It’s not about any of us,” Hadaway said. “It’s about the 43 lives” as well as those who survived and those who helped over many months.
His brother, Steven, 53, was installing a satellite dish at a home on Steelhead Drive when the slide hit. It took more than two months to find his body.
There is plenty of precedent for highway name changes. Earlier this year, a part of U.S. Highway 395 in Eastern Washington was named the Thomas S. “Tom” Foley Memorial Highway following a vote by the Legislature. Foley served in Congress for three decades, and from 1989 to 1995 was speaker of the House.
Dayn Brunner 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 encased in mud.
He wants drivers to understand what happened when they drive through the valley and specifically the area that was once home to a close-knit neighborhood.
“My number one thing is the legacy of the 43 lives,” Brunner said. “This is one thing we can do.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.