• Oso Mudslide Memorial Concept

Concept Designs Developed For Mudslide Memorial

On March 22, 2014, the lives of the people who lived in rural Steelhead Haven, just outside the Town of Oso, Washington, changed forever. A massive mudslide engulfed the neighborhood when a portion of an unstable hill collapsed after heavy rains. It was the single-deadliest landslide in US history. Forty-three people were killed and 49 homes and other structures destroyed. After recovery and cleanup, 43 trees were planted, covered in pictures and personal items placed there by loved ones. 

Concept Designs have been developed for a new, permanent memorial, which will become a place of remembrance for those lost, honor those who survived and the community that was once there, and thank the more than 900 responders who searched for months until everyone was accounted for. 

The Oso Mudslide Memorial Park is a series of loops, with a welcoming circle, community gathering and remembrance spaces. “You’ll be able to take a path that brings you through the story itself,” says Alissa Rupp, MIG Seattle Westlake, who led MIG’s design effort. “The memorial will offer insights into the community that was there, the people who were lost and the people who were rescued. It will also offer a reflective space for solace and healing for the people who participated in the enormous rescue effort.” 

Interpretive exhibits detail the geology and events of the slide, the first responders, and the community and survivors, along the backdrop of the mountainside that is still missing the giant chunk that crashed onto the community below. Those who were lost are acknowledged with large curved natural-looking steel panels that represent a gentle embrace and share names, photos and mementos, customized by family members. “Our concept was that the people who loved those people can best share the memories of them.” Visitors will leave with a sense of hope and resilience of the people and the area, which is now returning to wetlands, riparian vegetation and salmon in the nearby river. 

The community is currently raising funds to complete construction of the memorial. 

Read more about the project.