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March 2017

"Strong communities" coming together to remember Oso slide

OSO LogoMarch 22 will make the third anniversary of the tragic Oso landslide in Snohomish County, which claimed 43 lives, destroyed 49 homes and other structures, and moved 18 million tons of sand and clay.

To commemorate the catastrophe, the communities of Arlington and Darrington are hosting "Ride to Remember Oso," a one-way, 28-mile bicycle ride and community event.

The ride will "remember those who were lost and affected by the slide, and recognize how far our communities have come by celebrating our resilience and the completion of the Darrington/Arlington entry in the "America's Best Communities competition," said Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert and Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin.

As reported in the March 2016 issue of Northwest REporter, both towns were among 50 quarter-finalists in the "Best Communities" program, with each receiving $50,000 to develop a community revitalization plan. They've since advanced to the final round and are now among eight finalists competing for $6 million in top prizes. Winners will be announced on April 19.

The Ride to Remember (not recommended for children) starts in downtown Arlington at Legion Park and follows State Route 530 to Oso Loop Road, continuing east on SR 530 to the celebration in Darrington with a rest stop at the Oso store. Return transportation is available. The $30 registration fee includes long sleeve shirt.  Additional details are online.

The Ride to Remember is managed by City of Arlington, Town of Darrington, and Snohomish County Parks and supported by BIKES Club of Snohomish County.

Since the slide at the Steelhead Haven community, the county has replanted 6,400 Douglas firs and Western red cedars, 1,300 Sitka willows, 25,000 shrubs and scattered 11 million wildflower seeds. More than 11,000 tons of man-made debris has been removed from site.

In October 2016, on the eve of a trial, attorneys representing survivors and family members of the victims in a liability lawsuit against the state announced a $50 million settlement. That settlement did not involve the timber land owner, another defendant.