Second Oso Landslide Lawsuit Settled for $11.5M

July 25, 2018

A second group of relatives of people killed in the deadly Oso landslide has reached an $11.5 million settlement with Washington state and a timber company that logged an area above the site of the collapse.

The Daily Herald reported Sunday the agreement was reached in April. It follows a $60 million payout the state and Grandy Lake Forest Associates made to a larger group of plaintiffs in 2016. Some of the money from that settlement will go toward a permanent memorial.

The lawsuit alleged that the state, county and timber company knew the hillside posed a serious risk to neighbors but didn’t do enough about it.

The slide on March 22, 2014, killed 43 people when it wiped out a rural neighborhood in Oso, northeast of Seattle. Survivors and relatives of the victims alleged that logging above the slide and construction of a retaining wall along a bank where the Stillaguamish River undercut the hill increased the danger, and residents were never warned about it.

The slide struck after weeks of heavy rains. The neighborhood that was destroyed was a development of about 35 single-family homes, some dating to the 1960s, across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River from a hillside in the Cascade Mountains.

The river eroded the base of the hill, as it had been doing for decades, causing numerous smaller slides. The massive slide produced enough sand and soil to cover 600 football fields, which rushed down and swept the river up with it. The highway was buried under as much as 20 feet of muck.

Attorney Emily Harris, who represented families of two people killed, said it was a great result that provides closure.

The April agreement does not specify how much would be paid by the state or the timber company.

Gene Johnson of the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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