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Mudslide communities getting tourism money

OLYMPIA — Areas near the Oso mudslide will get some state money to boost tourism this summer as a way to help their economies.

Gov. Jay Inslee approved a $150,000 request from the state Commerce Department to supplement local business and government spending on promoting Darrington and the Stillaguamish Valley as a destination for summer travelers, helping to combat public perception that getting to the region is difficult.

It will promote businesses and attractions accessible by Highway 20 and summer events like the Darrington Timberbowl Rodeo, Summer Meltdown and Bluegrass Festival, targeting potential travelers in the Puget Sound and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Obama to tour mudslide April 22

(Editor's note: This is an update of the short story that first appeared this morning on the newspaper's website. It generated more than 100 comments there, and you can join the conversation by clicking here.)

OLYMPIA — President Obama will make a stop in Washington later this month to visit parts of Snohomish County devastated by the March 22 mudslide.

Obama will visit on April 22 to get a first-hand look at the devastation and the communities’ reaction in Oso, Arlington and Darrington, the White House announced Tuesday morning. He plans to meet with families, first responders and recovery workers. . . 

To read the rest of this item, click here to continue inside the blog.

Mudslide: Day 8

The mudslide story plays constantly on the Seattle news stations:  the faces of waiting loved ones reveal exhaustion and grief. The workers who dig and pole and sift through the muck appear as subject to slipping away as the victims of one week ago.

The rain pelts down, hour after hour after hour.

Fire Chief Travis Hots has been in his job since January – two months. No matter if he had been chief for two decades, no imagination or experience or training could have prepared him for this disaster. We keep vigil with him, with the communities of Oso and Darrington and Arlington. 

We wait.

(S-R photo: Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots )

“Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard”

Kay Ryan writes a lovely poem that easily fills the grief spaces in our hearts as searchers continue to slog through the sludge, debris and pain caused by Saturday's mudslide. Somehow humans persevere, but each step demands intent and hopeful purpose. A poem: 

Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard

A life should leave

deep tracks:
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks.
The passage
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small —
should be left scarred
by the grand and
damaging parade.
Things shouldn’t
be so hard.

Kay Ryan was the 16th Poet Laureate of the United States.

(S-R photo: A searcher uses a small boat to look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday in Oso, Wash.)

FEMA gives Oso mudslide emergency declaration

OLYMPIA — The Federal Emergency Management Administration issued a verbal declaration that makes the area around the Snohomish County mudslide eligible for immediate assistance.

Gov. Jay Inslee received assurance from FEMA this morning that it will issue a limited emergency declaration for the mudslide area which will include an Incident Management Assistance Team and other federal personnel. The notice "means we will receive immediate assistance from specialists and clears the way for more aid in search and rescue, recovery and rebuilding," Inslee said in a press release.

Muddling through life

Planes, helicopters and walls of mud – all falling away from life. The last two weeks have been difficult. Saturday a hillside became a mudslide and washed away homes, and with them, security. Three people are confirmed dead. An infant clings to life at Harborview.

We work so diligently to create secure and certain lives – and so much lies beyond our human control. Seems a good time to tend to simple acts of kindness for whomever we encounter.  Life is harder than it looks.

(S-R photo)

Rains trigger mudslides at Sun Valley burn areas

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: HAILEY, Idaho (AP) — Crews in Blaine County are cleaning up clumps and mud and debris that have been washed down hillsides scorched and left bare by recent wildfires. The Times-News reports (http://bit.ly/17ponqP ) that up to 18 inches of mud covered at least one public road outside of Hailey. Heavy rains that passed through the area Monday and Tuesday flushed mud and debris into several other roads that access subdivisions threatened by the Beaver Creek Fire. So far, Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsay says no homes are threatened by the mudslides. But some homeowners are hiring private contractors to help clean up driveways and private roads. Fire officials declared the 170-square-mile fire contained Monday.