UPDATE — (with 74 photos) — Snohomish County had weighed buying up homes in mudslide area
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The Associated Press/Skybox Imaging
This satellite image provided by Skybox Imaging and captured by SkySat-1 on Tuesday (April 1) at 12:19 p.m. PDT shows the area of the mudslide in Oso.
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(Everett) Daily Herald/Sofia Jaramillo via The Associated Press
Adisorn Gronski, left, prays while monks from the Atammayatarama Buddhist Monastery in Woodinville chant Tuesday (April 1) for victims of the deadly Oso mudslide.
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(Everett) Daily Herald/Mark Mulligan via The Associated Press
A sheriff's official takes photos of debris from the massive mudslide on Tuesday (April 1).
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The Associated Press
Tayler Drayton, 16, on Thursday (April 3) finishes painting words of support on a bus stop for those affected by the deadly mudslide in Oso.
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The Associated Press
Workers search an area next to large mounds of dirt on Tuesday in the debris field of the deadly Oso mudslide.
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The Associate Press
Workers use hand tools next to heavy equipment at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A tattered flag, found in the debris of a deadly mudslide, is flown at a staging area for emergency workers on state Highway 530.
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The Associated Press
A stuffed bear sits with other items found Wednesday (April 2) in the mudslide's debris field.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Benton County assistant fire chief Jack Coats surveys the landscape at the scene of the deadly mudslide on Wednesday. An excavator works below to clear a drainage channel.
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The Associated Press
Searchers work with heavy equipment near the edge of the deadly mudslide on Wednesday (April 2).
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A now-barren hillside overlooks the valley below at the scene of the deadly mudslide on Wednesday (April 2).
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Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times via The Associated Press
Rescue workers dig through a pile of debris marked with "PV" (Possible Victim) in the flooded areas on the east side of the massive mudslide along Highway 530 near Darrington on Saturday. , March 29, 2014. Marcus yam/The Seattle Times
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The Associated Press
A flag flies at half-staff on a log Sunday with the slope of the massive Oso mudslide in the background.
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The Associated Press
Firefighters carefully cross a pool of water, using a fallen tree as a path, at the west side of the mudslide on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 on Sunday, March 30.
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The Associated Press
A rescue worker with his mudied work boots taped to his pants
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The Associated Press
A search dog and its handlers at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press
Taken before the mudslide, this photo provided by parents Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth shows little Duke Suddarth asleep near a dog. The 5-month-old baby rescued from the Oso landslide was listed Sunday in serious condition but improving at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
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The Associated Press
Rescue workers use chainsaws and other tools to dig through a tangle of trees and mud marked as having a possible victim of the Oso mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A searcher walks through the scene of the mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A basketball floats amid muck and debris left by the Oso mudslide along State Route 530 near Darrington.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Workers and volunteers observe a moment of silence outside of the Oso Fire Department at 10:37 a.m. Saturday, exactly one week after a fatal mudslide struck just east of the small community.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Searchers pause for a moment of silence at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Searchers pause for a moment of silence at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Rescue workers continue to search the muck and debris left by the Oso mudslide along State Route 530 near Darrington.
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The Associated Press
A customer rests her hands on a tee-shirt for sale at an Arlington sporting goods store, with proceeds to be directed to victims of the deadly landslide.
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Seattle Times/Mike Siegel via The Associated Press
Members of the Air Force National Guard including Major Tawny Dotson, left, and Master Sgt. Chris Martin are assisting with search and rescue efforts at the Oso mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A mangled vehicle sticks up amid debris pulled from the west site of the mudslide on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 on Friday.
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The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
Workers help clear and sort the remains of houses at the west site of the mudslide on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 on Friday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A worker carries bags of personal belongings collected from debris at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Workers use heavy equipment to clear trees and other debris Thursday as the search continued for victims of the massive mudslide near Oso.
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The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
Four search and rescue workers wade through water covering State Highway 530 on Thursday.
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The Associated Press
Snohomish County Fire District 1 battalion chief Steve Mason speaks with the news media on Friday near the site of the deadly mudslide.
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Seattle Times/Marcus Yam via The Asociated Press
Firefighters help unload publicly donated equipment to aid the search and rescue operations in the aftermath of the massive mudslide.
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The New York Times (Click on graphic to enlarge)
This graphic uses a 2012 aerial photo to outline Saturday's mudslide and the houses it ruined. State Highway 530 and the Stillaguamish River also are shown. This graphic also can be accessed at www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/03/23/us/washington-mudslide.html
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A military helicopter flies Thursday, March 27, 2014, over mud and debris from the massive mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A cross at the Oso Community Chapel is decorated with flowers in dedication to mudslide victims.
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The Associated Press
Searchers work on a massive pile of debris on Thursday.
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The Associated Press
A searcher walks through the area hit by the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (To enlarge, click on photo)
Searchers on Thursday work at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Seattle Times/Marcus Yam via The Associated Press
Darrington volunteer firefighters (from left) Jeff McClelland, Jan McClelland and Eric Finzimer embrace Wednesday after saying a prayer. The town's volunteer firefighters have been on searches in the mudslide zone since Saturday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A searcher tries to keep balance while walking through debris at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Searchers watch as a piece of heavy equipment slowly moves debris at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
Workers carrying hand tools walk into a debris area at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A flag, put up by volunteers helping search the area, stands in the ruins of a home.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
"We haven't lost hope that there's a possibility that we can find somebody alive in some pocket area," said Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots.
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The Associated Press
Rescue workers remove one of a number of bodies from the wreckage of homes destroyed by a mudslide near Oso.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Thick, oozing mud is cleared from States Highway 530 by workers using heavy equipment.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A search and rescue worker clears debris from a house on the western edge of the massive mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A volunteer arrives at the Oso Fire Department.
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The Associated Press
The massive mudslide that killed at least eight people and left dozens missing is shown in this aerial photo, taken Monday near Oso.
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The Seattle Times via The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
An aerial photo of the mudslide near the Snohomish County town of Oso.
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The Associated Press/The Herald, Genna Martin
Brian Anderson, left, and Coby Young on Sunday search through the wreckage of a home belonging to the Kuntz family. The entire Kuntz family was at a baseball game Saturday morning when the mudslide swept through the area. The family returned Sunday to search through what remained.
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The Associated Press/The Herald, Genna Martin
A woman holds family photos pulled from the rubble at the site of the mudslide.
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The Associated Press/The Seattle Times, Lindsey Wasson
The orange X on a house destroyed in the mudslide indicates it has been searched by searchers.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
An aerial photo of Saturday's mudslide damage in rural Snohomish County near Oso.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
The huge mudslide in rural Snohomish County near Oso on Saturday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
The huge mudslide in rural Snohomish County near Oso on Saturday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
The huge mudslide in rural Snohomish County near Oso on Saturday.
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The Seattle Times via The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Robin Youngblood survived the landslide that destroyed her house next to the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. She is holding the only item that survived the disaster, a painting of a Cherokee warrior that was knocked from the wall and muddied. "It saved us." she said.
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The Associated Press
A sign is placed to direct those in need to a Red Cross shelter at Post Middle School in Arlington.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Neighbors gather at the Oso Fire Department to look for updates about the mudslide.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Neighbors gather at the Oso Fire Department to look for updates about the mudslide.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A woman collapses as neighbors gather at the Oso Fire Department to look for updates about the mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A demolished house sits in the mud on State Highway 530 on Sunday, the day after the giant landslide occurred.
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The Associated Press/The Herald, Genna Martin
Steve Skaglund walks across the rubble on the east side of Saturday's fatal mudslide.
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The Seattle Times/Marcus Yam via The Associated Press
At Darrington High School, local residents reach out and pray with one another at a community prayer vigil for the victims and survivors of the massive mudslide.
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The Associated Press
Workers comb through debri at the site of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Workers at the mudslide site before stopping for a moment of silence on Saturday
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The Associated Press
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the Port Angeles air station, piloted by 
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Geraghty and Lt. Jared Hylander, flies along the upper edge of the Oso mudslide on Monday. The helicopter flight was part of federal assistance in the continuing search-and-rescue operation.
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The Associated Press
A member of the congregation at Glad Tidings Assembly of God church in Darrington raises her hand as she sings during Sunday morning church services. Much of the music and speaking was devoted to reaction to the deadly mudslide that hit the nearby community of Oso.
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The Associated Press
A long-arm excavator Tuesday works the debris from the mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the Port Angeles air station, piloted by 
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Geraghty and Lt. Jared Hylander, flies along the upper edge of the Oso mudslide on Monday. The helicopter flight was part of federal assistance in the continuing search-and-rescue operation.
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The Associated Press
A search worker Tuesday walks near a camper shell in the debris from the deadly mudslide.
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The Associted Press
Medical investigator Deb Hollis, left, embraces dog handler Christi Dudzik as therapy dog Paddy looks on at the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office on Wednesday (April 2).

By PHUONG LE
The Associated Press

Injured Oso baby now in satisfactory condition
SEATTLE — The 5-month-old boy who was injured in the Oso mudslide, Duke Suddarth, was upgraded to satisfactory condition and transferred Tuesday from Harborview Medical Center to Children's Hospital in Seattle for follow-up treatment.

His mother, Amanda Skorjanc, remains in satisfactory condition at Harborview, awaiting more surgeries.

Three men injured in the March 22 landslide also remain at Harborview Wednesday.

The hospital says a 37-year-old and an 81-year-old are both in serious condition in the intensive care unit and improving.

A 58-year-old is in satisfactory condition.
EDITOR'S NOTE — The Daily Herald of Everett, a sister newspaper of the Peninsula Daily News, has in-depth coverage of the Oso slide. Latest slide and Snohomish County information can be found on the Herald's website, www.heraldnet.com.

Related story: "Snohomish County mudslide — how to donate to victims, how to report someone missing": http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140328/NEWS/303289959

Snohomish County had weighed buying up homes in mudslide area



DARRINGTON — A decade before a colossal landslide buried dozens of home in the rural Snohomish County community of Oso, county officials considered buying up people's homes there to protect them from such a disaster.

A 2004 Snohomish County flood-management plan said the cost of buying properties in Oso and removing residents from the path of a potential slide “would be significant, but would remove the risk to human life and structures.”

But after weighing several options, the county instead recommended a project to shore up the base of the unstable hillside above the community about 55 miles north of Seattle, according to documents.

A huge log wall was eventually built to reduce landslide and flood risks. But it wasn't enough to hold back the square mile of dirt, sand and silt that barreled down the hillside March 22, leveling homes and killing at least 30 people.

Some area residents and their family members say they knew nothing of the landslide danger or home-buyout proposals.

“There's never been any document that we've seen regarding that,” said Irene Kuntz, whose sister Linda McPherson died in the landslide.

Kuntz, who lives in the nearby community of Darrington, said her father bought land in the area in 1940, and he “never was given any notice that it was in danger.” Her son's home also was destroyed in the slide.

She said she didn't know whether they would have taken a buyout if offered.

A message left with Snohomish County Public Works director was not immediately returned.

Heidi Amrine, a spokeswoman for the Joint Information Center for the landslide, said Thursday: “We don't have anyone who can address that right now.”

Geologic reports noted previous landslides in the area and warned of a potential disaster.

In 2004, county officials evaluated three options, including voluntarily buying out properties at the base of the hillside that collapsed nearly two weeks ago.

The county based its options in part on a report by a consultant, GeoEngineers, who wrote that the landslide posed a “significant risk to human lives and private property, since human development of the flood plain in this area has steadily increased since the 1967 event.”

GeoEngineers had warned in a 2000 draft study about “catastrophic failure,” saying the river at the base of the landslide-prone hill was actively cutting into the slope.

That study, authored by Tracy Drury, weighed five alternatives, including buying out all the properties in flood-plain area and moving the Stillaguamish River about 2,000 feet from the slide. The cost of land purchases was estimated to be $1.6 million.

But the consultant said the likelihood that all property owners would be willing to sell was low, and so recommended a preferred option of providing “storage areas” in the flow path of the river to trap sediment from the slide. That option included buying out some properties.

A call to Drury was not returned Thursday. A woman who answered the phone at Drury's office Wednesday said Drury and others would not be available to comment.

Dale Dunshee, who sold his property in the neighborhood three years ago, told The Seattle Times: “If I'd known it was that dangerous, I would have moved in a heartbeat.”

The county ultimately recommended implementing a project to stabilize the slope. While technically feasible, the plan noted that “stabilizing any large slide such as this is a difficult task.”

A 1,300-foot crib wall was built in 2006.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed deaths in the mudslide increased Thursday to 30, and the county medical examiner's office released two more victims' names.

Gloria Halstead, 67, and Jovon E. Mangual, 13, both of Arlington, died of multiple blunt force injuries.

The number of people listed as missing rose from 15 to 17 on the latest list provided by the Snohomish County sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office said Thursday that 44-year-old Victor Ford of Arlington and an unidentified 50-to-60-year-old man have been added to the list.

A sheriff's spokeswoman didn't immediately return a call seeking additional information about the change.

Last modified: April 04. 2014 1:21AM
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