landslides | KUOW News and Information

landslides

As heavy rains move into the Northwest, geologists are watching the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. This summer’s wildfires have made slopes that are already prone to landslides even more treacherous.

Geologists for the state of Oregon are warning of the risk of major landslides in parts of the Columbia River Gorge that were hit by wildfires this year.

A new report released Thursday focuses on areas of the Gorge that are highly susceptible to landslides—which also happen to overlap with some of the areas hit by this year’s wildfires.

Ron Thompson, whose home was destroyed in the Oso, Washington, slide, had a full workshop. He continues to carve signs, including these at his new home behind the Oso fire station.
KCTS Photo/Aileen Imperial

Jeannie Yandel speaks with president of the Darrington Historical Society, Scott Morris, who has partnered with a group of students from University of Washington's Master of Library and Information Science program to collect and preserve historical documents and histories from the Oso landslide. 

New Oso Analysis Sheds Light On Landslide Risks

Dec 23, 2015
A massive mudslide on March 22, 2014 in Oso, Washington killed 43. Pictured here is the mudflow taken on Monday, March 24, 2014.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Big landslides like the one in Oso that killed 43 people last year are fairly common in Stillaguamish Valley. According to a new study from the University of Washington, one occurs about every 140 years. 

David Hyde talks to UW geology professor David Montgomery about what the research means for politicians and where people decide to build and live.

Grays Harbor County commissioners approved an emergency declaration for their coastal county Tuesday in the wake of flooding and landslides.

The Carlton Complex fires burned more than 255,000 acres in Washington’s Methow Valley past summer. There are thousands of fire-scrubbed hillsides and slopes that threaten to become torrents of mud running down in nearly every direction.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

You might not think there's much of a connection between the deadly Oso landslide and this month's racially charged unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The National Weather Service says slow-moving storms creeping through Central Washington could bring another round of mudslides this evening.

John Ryan / KUOW

An independent commission will delve into the deadliest landslide in Washington history. The commission will seek statewide lessons from the Oso landslide, land use in the Oso area before the slide and the emergency response in the days and weeks afterward.

How to keep a county that is still reeling from a deadly landslide safe from future landslides?

Environmentalists' and developers' conflicting answers to that question will get a full airing on Wednesday at the Snohomish County Council in Everett. The council is holding a special hearing on ways to reduce the chances of new homes being put in where landslides might take them out.

KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Barbara Ingram furrows her brow as she peers into a patch of woods up the road from her house. Developers have had their eyes on this place, too.

State Officials Discuss Regulations To Prevent Future Landslides

May 12, 2014
Flickr Photo/brewbooks (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks to Peter Goldmark, commissioner of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, about logging regulations in landslide-prone areas. The DNR and other state officials met in Olympia to discuss the possibility of even more regulations down the line.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington State officials announced new restrictions on logging near landslide zones Friday afternoon.

The change in policy comes six weeks after a landslide near the town of Oso killed at least 41 people.

KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Aid agencies are reducing their presence in Oso and Darrington, a month and a half after a landslide hit the small community there, killing at least 41.

King County

King County is seeking federal funding for an updated map of landslide hazards, and is considering the possibility of using this map to provide the public information about buildings at risk.

Courtesy Washington State Department of Ecology

Marcie Sillman talks to John Starbard, director of King County's Department of Permitting and Environmental Review, about the county’s effort to map out areas that might be prone to landslides and earthquakes.

How Drones Quietly Mapped Oso Landslide Area

May 5, 2014
Tamara Palmer

As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a bill in April that would have regulated drone use statewide, a consortium of disaster recovery specialists quietly negotiated the use of drones to make a 3-D model of the Oso mudslide.

Inslee vetoed the Legislature's bill on April 4 citing privacy and transparency concerns that he said were not adequately addressed, but he said he would still let drones fly in emergencies.

Flickr Photo/Diana Lofflin, DNR (CC BY-NC-ND)

It's not unusual for elected officials to cozy up to people with money. Yet Washington Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark's relationship with the timber industry he regulates has changed dramatically since the two-term Democrat first ran for the office six years ago.

Liz Jones / KUOW

Mike Peroni knows what it’s like to live through a disaster. In 2007, a massive flood wiped out his home and farm in Curtis, Wash., about 40 miles south of Olympia.

For him, stories from the tragic landslide near Oso, Wash., on March 22 have hit an emotional scar.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that land above the Oso landslide zone was logged in 2005. The site was logged in 2004 and replanted in 2005.

The forester who clear-cut land above the Oso, Wash., landslide zone in 2004 says he followed standard procedures and state regulations when logging there.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The first wave of memorial services honoring the victims who perished in the Oso landslide took place this weekend.

In Darrington, residents gathered to remember Linda McPherson, a longtime resident and librarian. After the service, the community gathered for a meal together. It's a special tradition that goes back many decades in this small community.

Courtesy of Stacy Noland

Stacy Noland deployed to Oso, Wash., with the Global Disaster Innovation Group Field Innovation Team three days after the fatal landslide there. Noland has worked in rescue and recovery operations following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the 2011 Joplin tornado, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. His role at the debris pile was to figure out how to make rescue and recovery most efficient. We asked what he has learned so far.

KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

The landslide in Oso, Wash., served as a devastating reminder of one fact of life in the Northwest: landslides happen.

In some places, it’s a risk people have learned to live with — places like the Mt. Index River Sites, a loose cluster of homes along the Skykomish River northeast of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

As of Wednesday morning, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s office has confirmed that 29 people have died in the Oso landslide. Hopes of finding survivors are dwindling.

That’s taking a toll on the families and the search crews, some who have been out there since the very beginning, doing intense physical and emotional work. Rescue operations managers are very conscious about giving those crews a break, letting them rotate in and out so they can rest and recharge.

Bill Radke talks with photojournalist Joshua Trujillo about his experience covering the Oso mudslide through photography.

Flickr Photo/Doc Searls (CC BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke talks with Los Angeles Fire Captain Ronald Klamecki about his own work in a landslide recovery in California and how authorities will decide regarding their next steps.

"As days go by, the potential of finding live victims diminishes. The rescuers are really putting forth the great effort and it wears on them too," he said. "They're doing their very best to bring closure to the victims' families."

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The catastrophic mudflow that destroyed lives and homes a week and a half ago has come to be known as the Oso Landslide. That's led many to think the town has been wiped away.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that land above the Oso landslide zone was logged in 2005. The site was logged in 2004 and replanted in 2005.

Seattle just wrapped up its wettest March on record, with 9.4 inches of rain reported at Sea-Tac International Airport. 

Geologists say near-record rain in the Cascade foothills was key in triggering the fatal landslide near the town of Oso, Wash., on March 22. But they say clear-cutting nearby could also have worsened the risk of the hillside collapsing.

Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Scott Burns, a geologist and landslide expert at Portland State University, about how he hopes the tragedy in Oso will lead to landslide insurance for homeowners and better landslide hazard maps to prevent future devastation.

KUOW Photo/Deb Wang

It’s no secret that Western Washington is prone to landslides. The combination of glacial soils, steep slopes and water creates a risk that’s greater than in other parts of the U.S.