Gov. Inslee tours Whidbey Island after landslide


WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. - Gov. Jay Inslee got a first-hand look at the damage on Whidbey Island caused by a massive landslide last month.

On March 27, a landslide hit the southwest coastline of Whidbey Island. Thirty-four homes were ordered to evacuate and several residents were affected by the large moving land mass.

Since the slide, some residents have been able to return to their homes, access has been limited. Crews built a temporary road for residents who were blocked off by mud and debris.

Inslee, along with Rep. Norma Smith, Sen. Barbara Bailer and commissioners Helen Price Johnson, Kelly Emerson and Jill Johnson toured Whidbey Island and met with residents.

“It’s an enormous movement of earth. Whatever you’ve seen on television, it’s a lot bigger in person,” Inslee said.

Arthur Nowell told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Deborah Horne he remembers the day of the landslide.

“When the wind blows, I wake up. Is this the sound of an earthquake? It isn’t. It’s just the wind and the trees. But yeah, you get a little nervous about any sound,” Nowell said.

Ralph Young thinks about the landslide and Inslee’s visit is encouraging.

“Because we’ve got a little governing. That’s got to be done so hopefully the state can help us,” Young said.

With the budget battle already looming, Inslee wasn’t making any promises.

“But I think we all have this neighborly response in Washington to the people of Whidbey Island to embrace our neighbors. We’ll find a solution,” Inslee said.

The damage is still being estimated, and repairs are expected to cost many millions of dollars.