Tangible Memories and Healing Spaces
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. 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 show 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 those responders who searched for months until everyone was accounted for.
Visitors can follow a path through the 3-acre SR 530 Mudslide Memorial Park that brings you through the story of that day. 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 curved natural-looking steel panels that represent a gentle embrace and share names, photos and mementos, customized by family members who knew them best. A Community Gathering and Remembrance Space, and covered shelters offer visitors reflective views, highlighting the resilience of the people and the area, which is now returning to wetlands, riparian vegetation and salmon in the nearby river.