LOCAL NEWS

Oso community is raising money for a memorial at the slide site

Mar 22, 2018, 2:30 PM | Updated: May 24, 2018, 2:35 pm

On March 22, 2014, people in the Steelhead Haven neighborhood were going about their normal routines. It was Saturday, so most kids were home. It was family time. Then at 10:37 a.m. a mudslide destroyed the neighborhood, killing 43 people.

Tom and Karen Pszonka lost three generations of their family; their daughter Katie and her husband Shane, their 4- and 6-year-old grandson’s Wyatt and Hunter, and Shane’s parents, JuDee and Lou.

Dayn Brunner’s sister Summer Raffo was driving along SR 530 to go care for horses when the wall of dirt, mud, and debris came barreling across the highway.

It was the deadliest landslide in U.S. history. It was also a shining moment for humanity as the Oso and Darrington communities came together to support each other and saw an outpouring of support from the state, country, and even the world.

Now those communities and families are looking for that same show of heart as they launch a fundraising campaign for the SR530 Mudslide Memorial.

Aerial photos of the mudslide

A temporary memorial, trees with pictures and favorite items of those lost, were planted six months after the slide. The memorial is located inside the Steelhead Drive gate.

The new memorial will be permanent, located where the neighborhood used to be. It will be dedicated to those killed and to honor the first responders who spent weeks sifting through the debris to find the remains of those killed.

“I think it’s first and foremost for the families,” said Snohomish County Emergency Management Director Jason Biermann. “It’s to memorialize their loss and to have a place where they can come and have some peace. I think it’s humbling that they have chosen to have an area of it that is dedicated to the first responders.”

Supporters say the memorial will also serve as a way to teach others about what happened.

“There were people who were very invested in the work, emotionally, physically, and mentally,” Biermann said. “There was a lot of work and a lot of people who were out here and it certainly established some strong bonds that will last forever.”

It will also be a place for the communities and loved ones of those lost to find peace and healing, Brunner says.

“It’s very difficult. I never thought that this would affect me the way that it does. It just literally consumes me. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about this and that’s not a bad thing. I just miss her — a lot.”

Students send cards and letters to Oso rescue teams

“It is very difficult, still,” said Tom Pszonka at the site of the slide. “And I imagine it will never go away.”

The concept designs are nearly complete. Surviving family members have been a big part of that process. On Thursday, Snohomish County along with those family members, launched a fundraising effort for the SR530 Mudslide Memorial.

Organizers hope to raise $6 million to design, build, and maintain the memorial.

You can donate to the memorial effort at www.slidememorial.com.

“The first time we saw it, we were overwhelmed. We were all crying looking at it,” Karen Pszonka said at the slide site. “I think to be able to walk around there and see all this, it will make the site feel a lot better and look a lot better.”

Local News

bellevue...
MyNorthwest Staff

Explosions heard during fire in Bellevue

Several people in Bellevue reported hearing explosions in the area of a large fire Thursday night.
1 day ago
crime, domestic violence...
MyNorthwest Staff

Four people killed in Tacoma shooting

Tacoma police say two women and two men were killed in a shooting Thursday.
1 day ago
bike...
Kathryn Altena

King County Board of Health delays vote to repeal bike helmet law

After a public hearing on a proposed repeal of King County's bike helmet law, the county board of health decided to delay their vote.
1 day ago
jim walsh, washington lawmaker...
Heather Bosch

Washington lawmaker is locked out of capitol over COVID vaccine mandate

A Washington state lawmaker says he's been locked out of the state capitol in Olympia over the COVID vaccine mandate.
1 day ago
Sammamish...
MyNorthwest Staff

Sammamish scores top spot on list of best small US cities to live in

A new list has crowned Sammamish, Washington, the nation's best small city to live in, marking the latest in a string of recent accolades.
1 day ago
world cup...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Seattle among cities competing for hosting duties in 2026 World Cup

Starting Thursday, World Cup officials will tour cities across the United States, including Seattle, to determine which venues will host games in 2026.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Oso community is raising money for a memorial at the slide site