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Voices of the Oso Landslide

September 22, 2014

Two years ago, a hillside slope collapsed in Oso, Washington, and slid toward the north fork of the Stillaguamish River, killing 43 people. The slide buried dozens of homes, roads and a mile-long stretch of State Highway 20. Six months later, IN Close paid tribute to the victims, survivors, responders, families and neighbors with Voices of the Oso Landslide.

Remembering the Voices of the Oso Landslide


Bob DeYoung (The Emotional Toll), owner of DeYoung Logging and Tree Service in Darrington, was one of the first rescuers to the scene. DeYoung died of a heart attack on February 24, 2016. A fund has been established to help his family meet expenses. Make donations by clicking here

Pastor Gary Ray (The Spirit of Service) left Oso Community Chapel and is now ministering in California. 

Photographer Josh Trujillo (Witness to Disaster) left the Seattle Post-Intelligencer  to become the photo/video manager at Starbucks Newsroom. 

The Hall family (The Halls of Oso), who operate Fruitful Farm and Nursery, have seen their business grow. Aaron finished a new building next to the roadside stand, which will house the farm office as well as storage and a cooler. Isaac has a new baby, and Sarah continues to win violin awards, and will play in the Klein International Competition finals in California this June. 

The new building at Fruitful Farm and Nursery, courtesy of Aaron Hall.


Perspectives on the 2014 disaster

Six months after the deadliest landslide in U.S. history, the community of Oso, Washington is still recovering. While the physical work of clearing the debris is largely finished, the emotional healing has only just begun. KCTS 9 and KUOW 94.9 collaborated to produce this series of profiles of some of the people most affected by the landslide—victims rescued from the mud, families that lost their homes, first responders struggling with post-traumatic stress, and leaders, both municipal and spiritual, still working tirelessly for their community.


The Emotional Toll: Bob and Julie DeYoung

Bob DeYoung was one of the first local rescuers on the scene after the Oso landslide. Instead of rescuing though, DeYoung ended up doing recovery work – pulling the bodies of friends and neighbors from the mud. Now, six months later, Bob struggles to keep his emotions in check and his marriage intact, after the trauma that continues to haunt him.

The Spirit of Service: Pastor Gary Ray

In the aftermath of a devastating landslide, Pastor Gary Ray helps a fiercely independent community find the strength to ask for help.

Witness to Disaster

While covering the Oso landslide, photo journalist Josh Trujillo learned an eye opening lesson about nature's unpredictability and most of all, how people respond to disaster.

The Halls of Oso

A farm family in Oso is far away from the destruction of the landslide, but responds by putting their unique skills and talents in service to those who lost everything.


The Science of Risk: Dan Miller

Dan Miller, a Seattle geomorphologist, has been warning about the risks of landslides in the Northwest for years.


A Mayor's View: Mayor Dan Rankin

When a tragic landslide destroys their neighboring community, a humble mayor finds himself in the middle of disaster.  From a hill top overlooking the reconstruction of Highway 530, Darrington's Mayor Dan Rankin reflects on the impact of the Oso landslide on his residents and his day-to-day life.


A Story of Healing: Gail and Ron Thompson

Ron Thompson was known as the mayor of Steelhead Drive. He and his wife Gail 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.


The Painting: Robin Youngblood

Robin Youngblood was one of the lucky few that made it out of the Oso landslide alive. She lost everything she owned, except for one painting. Robin believes she was saved for a reason, and she is now on a mission to urge people to reconnect with nature and heed its warnings.

About Voices of the Oso Landslide

The March 2014 landslide in Oso, Washington, was the worst such disaster in U.S. history. Forty-three people were killed when heavy rains triggered a huge section of hillside above the Steelhead Haven neighborhood to give way, sweeping away dozens of homes, covering the highway, and blocking the Stillaguamish River.

Voices of the Oso Landslide is a collaboration of KCTS 9 and KUOW Public Radio. KUOW reporters teamed-up with KCTS 9 photographers and editors to produce this series of multi-media reports, talking intimately with those most profoundly impacted by the landslide.



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