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Posts Tagged ‘Oso’

Oso 2016 21

On March 22nd, 2014, a landslide killed 43 people in Snohomish County, Washington. Nearly as many homes were destroyed as a section of hillside fell away. You might remember the following posts from that time, Help Oso Mudslide Victims, Oso Aid, and Oso’s Geological Hazards.

It’s been more than two years since this horrific disaster during which the local community demonstrated a powerful loyalty to their neighbors. The cries of Oso Strong and 530 Strong rang for months as they worked alongside rescue and recovery crews. The Oso Community Chapel, among many other entities, rallied to aid survivors and to help everyone involved process the loss.

It was time to pay my respects. I’d been within a few miles of the slide the week after it happened. There have been plenty of pictures of it. But I needed to see it for myself.

The drive from the town of Arlington seemed to take forever. Approaching the site were numerous red-lettered signs warning people not to park on the shoulders or make any u-turns for two miles. 530 is a two lane, rural highway with freeway speeds. But I was unsure where it was legal to stop so drove up to this spot first and turned around.

Oso 2016 1

Driving back west, I saw a turnout on what used to be Steelhead Drive. It was clearly a memorial for the victims, so noting the absence of no parking signs at this particular point, I stopped for a couple of minutes. This is what I saw.

Oso 2016 2

That used to be a neighborhood. This was a somber sight.

The site is secured by a gate that contains messages of remembrance and hope. I did not get a clear shot of it but someone did a beautiful job of making these wooden signs.

Oso 2016 3

People left mementos. Again, the picture is fuzzy, but the sign in the center of these lovingly placed items says, “believe.”

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This is still Steelhead Drive.

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The magnitude of this sorrow made for a heavy atmosphere.

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There are several rows of decorated young trees to the right of the gate. I’m assuming there’s one for each person who lost their life but I didn’t count.

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Across the road another American flag flies proudly.

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A couple of more shots while leaving the site. This is such a severe scar on a beautiful area.

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Another symbol of unity and pride.

Oso 2016 11

Stopping by the Oso Community Chapel on the way back, I was delighted by its cheery newer paint job.

Oso 2016 12

Signs of community pride are literally everywhere, including on the church’s bulletin board.

Oso 2016 13

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The fire department looks quiet now. This was a hive of activity in the Spring of 2014, with vehicles spilling out of the parking lot as well as up and down the highway.

Oso 2016 15

There are still yellow ribbons, flowers, and wreaths for miles, in people’s yards, around road signs, and here outside the fire department.

Oso 2016 16

Statements of strength aren’t difficult to find along this stretch.

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This sign captured what I felt best. These people and the first responders and volunteers involved were a formidable force. They mobilized quickly and what they accomplished was flat out heroic. But many are still fighting their way back psychologically, financially, and otherwise. The photos I show here are the sanitized, time-tempered version of the muddy hell that they were working in for so long.

Oso 2016 20

Please keep the Highway 530 community in your hearts as they continue to heal. And thank you to the many people who gave so generously of their time and talents to help this community. I know that some of you are among them.

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If you make one mistake in this life, let it be loving too much. –Jim Hayford

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

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Restoration Church

On Saturday, March 22nd, a catastrophic mudslide destroyed a community most of the world had never heard of in the foothills of the Pacific Northwest. Over the next week, millions of people had not only heard about Oso, Washington, but about the relief work being done there by the mighty 80-member Oso Chapel. They have raised about $300,000 for Oso slide relief since the slide (!).

Teresa of Avila said that Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. The Oso Chapel, an evangelical Baptist-affiliated church located just several miles west of the slide, did not jump into the fray to help their neighbors when the slide happened. They were already hard at work before that, as evidenced by this mission statement and video posted on YouTube on February 21st of this year, a month before the tragic event that killed 42 of their neighbors. (more…)

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POTUS Podium

Right now Obama is speaking at the Oso Fire Department a few miles from the horrific mudslide that happened one month ago. Throughout his speech, he has kept referring to… Ahso. Darrington, Arlington, and Ahso.

Oso is the Spanish word for bear and I’ve never heard it pronounced any other way than Oh-soh. So I’d like to believe that Oh-soh is how to say it. While many are impressed that he stopped in Oso to meet with survivors and their families on the way to Tokyo, frankly I’m embarrassed that his people might not have taken the time to review the name’s pronunciation. Someone on his staff should have done this; it’s their job to keep him informed. He also referred to Oso Fire Chief Willy Harper twice as the sheriff. (more…)

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From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Monday, March 24th, I was perusing blog posts about the Oso, Washington mudslide, some of which were written by people knowledgeable about local geology. I was disturbed by what I found. By Tuesday, the major news stations and newspapers around Seattle had started to publish stories asking the same question—were there red flags indicating that the mudslide would happen? Could a landslide happen again soon?

I’m not an expert, but the more I learn about the geology in this area, the more concerned I become about the possibility of another slide and the more I question whether rebuilding in the same spot—if that’s on the table– is a wise idea. As a society we see rebuilding as a sign of resilience and so might not question the wisdom of doing so. (more…)

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Oso Aid

 The Oso Chapel is hosting a community prayer and share meeting on Wednesday, March 26th, at 7 P.M. Details here

The death toll has risen to 14 in the Oso mudslide as rescuers have been giving their all to reach any survivors before a storm hits on Tuesday. It was actually area residents who found several of their neighbors’ bodies. There are still many unaccounted for– over a hundred missing persons reports have been made to the authorities. Entire families are missing. KOMO reported that a family dog was rescued from the rubble, reinforcing hopes that there could still be people rescued from this nightmare as well. (more…)

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From the Seattle PI. Lindsey Wasson/AP.

From the Seattle PI. Lindsey Wasson/AP.

From the Oso Chapel’s Facebook page:

Oso Chapel will coordinate a Community Prayer and Share meeting this Wednesday evening, March 26th, 2014 at 7 P.M. This will be an opportunity to share, find comfort, and relay specific needs. We want to be a help and a blessing. (more…)

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UPDATE, 3/24/14: PLEASE SEE THE NEWER POST ON THIS BLOG TITLED OSO AID FOR MORE WAYS TO GIVE AND HELP BOTH PEOPLE AND ANIMALS. THANKS!

Oso Mudslide. Marcus Yam, The Seattle Times.

“It’s much worse than everyone’s been saying,” said the firefighter, who did not want to be named. “The slide is about a mile wide. Entire neighborhoods are just gone. When the slide hit the river, it was like a tsunami.” -From the Seattle Times (more…)

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