With catastrophic events like the Oso landslide, often one still and one video photographer are picked as the “pool” to collect image for everyone else. Today Lindsey Wasson from the Seattle Times and I were picked. We rode up past the checkpoints with Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary until we came to the point where highway 530 ended and the mud began.
When we got out to take our pictures, I was struck with how quiet it was. Besides the occasional roar of a search helicopter, the songbirds were the only thing we heard. It was a heavy silence.
It looked as if the entire neighborhood had been put into a blender, everything chopped up into shards. Sheriff Trenary pointed out parts of what was someone’s kitchen, but spread out flat in front of us, and like everything else, it was covered in mud.
From our vantage point we only were able to see a small portion of the Oso slide, but just what we saw was overwhelming. We were only there for 15 minutes or so, the cleanup will stretch well into the summer. The recovery and healing for the victims and their families will take much, much longer.