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Lawsuit, Legal Claims Ongoing At Oso Six-Month Anniversary

Snohomish County

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

Karen Willie represents three families who lost loved ones in the slide and three more who lost their property. She said a “deep wound” remains.

At 10:37am – the exact six month anniversary, she said, “This moment is when this horror of mud raced across Steelhead Drive.”

The wall of mud and debris ripped through an idyllic riverfront subdivision. Everything in its path was destroyed. It would take four months to recover the last of the 43 victims.

Willie believes public agencies need to be held to account.

“This should never have happened and it should never, ever happen again,” she said.

The state and Snohomish County, where the slide happened, argue in legal filings that the slide was an act of God.

So far only one actual lawsuit has been filed. Willie has raised the specter of a master settlement involving all of the families and a mediator.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."