Oso

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

A state commission on landslides is urging nearly two dozen improvements in the way Washington state prepares for and responds to landslides.

Statewide mapping of landslide hazards, better funding and coordination for emergency responders, and "innovative" land-use regulations to improve public safety top the commission's preliminary list.

Courtesy of King County Sheriff's Office

State officials adopted a more cautious approach to logging near landslide-prone slopes on Wednesday.

The adoption of new, voluntary guidelines came in response to the Oso landslide that killed 43 people in March.  

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The deadly Oso landslide in March sparked a debate over Snohomish County’s apparent failure to protect residents at the base of a known landslide zone.

But Washington state is dotted with landslide-prone slopes, and many counties and cities do less than Snohomish County to keep homes away from harm.

Six months after 43 people lost their lives in the Oso landslide, nearly 60 legal claims have been filed against the state of Washington.

After Oso, Being Mayor Is Now A Full-Time Job

Sep 21, 2014
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KCTS Photo/Aileen Imperial

Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin grew up in this small town, like his father and his father before him. Though he moved away when he was younger, Rankin felt he had to move back. The town, he says, is something you can't get out of your soul.

In Oso, We Pulled Everybody Out Of The Mud

Sep 21, 2014
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KCTS Photo/Stacey Jenkins

Bob DeYoung helped recover bodies of friends and neighbors killed in the Oso slide. His wife Julie took care of people who survived. Today they're figuring out how to take care of their own needs.

After Oso, Reborn From Water And Mud

Sep 21, 2014
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KCTS Photo/Stacey Jenkins

Robin Youngblood cherished the nature around her home in Oso’s Steelhead Haven. When the landslide struck, she and a visiting friend were talking about a deer they had just seen. After the disaster, she left the Oso area. But something called her back. Now she lives a stone’s throw from state Route 530, a few miles east of the slide.

We Are All To Blame For The Oso Slide

Sep 21, 2014
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KCTS Photo/Katie Campbell

As a geomorphologist, Dan Miller has extensively studied the land formations and landslide history of the Stillaguamish Valley and Steelhead Haven. Miller and other scientists knew it to be a hazardous place, long before the devastating slide occurred. 

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KCTS Photo/Aileen Imperial

Gary Ray was the pastor at the Oso chapel in March. While doing work for the church on the morning of Saturday, March 22,  he received a call from another pastor in Darrington. There had been a massive landslide and he should come back, the pastor said. After the slide, Ray provided spiritual and emotional support for a community that prided itself on its strong sense of independence.

We're Staying In Oso, But Every Day We Say Goodbye

Sep 21, 2014
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KCTS Photo/Aileen Imperial

Ron Thompson was known as the mayor of Steelhead Drive. He and his wife Gail Thompson lost their home and many neighbors in the Oso landslide. But they’ve decided to stay in Oso, and start over in a new home just four miles from the old one. They find hope in rebuilding their community while striving to find meaning in the disaster.

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.

SEATTLE -- Scientists have concluded that rain, groundwater seepage and a long history of big landslides likely contributed to the massive landslide of March 22 that killed 43 people and destroyed dozens of homes near Oso, Washington.

Those findings came out Tuesday, the result of a scientific team's rapid-fire assessment of geology and localized factors.

Joe Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a co-lead author of the study, said rainfall very likely played a key role in the slide.

Scientists Draw Lessons From Oso Landslide

Jul 22, 2014
Flickr Photo/Washington State DNR (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with David Montgomery, professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington, who was part of a team of scientists studying the aftermath of the Oso mudslide in order to help other communities prepare for future disasters.

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

Lisa Brooks speaks with Snohomish County Council Chair Dave Somers about a temporary ban on development in two landslide-prone areas near the site of the Oso, Wash., landslide that killed 43 people in March.

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.

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