Oso community looking to rename stretch of SR 530 ‘Oso Memorial Highway'

Oso community looking to rename stretch of SR 530 ‘Oso Memorial Highway'

The site of the tragic Oso mudslide in March 2018. (Hanna Scott, KIRO Radio)

It’s the stretch of highway that runs along the site of one of the worst disasters the state has ever seen, and those most impacted by the deadly 2014 Oso landslide are hoping to get that part of SR 530 a new name.

We’ve been telling you about the efforts of volunteers and the families and loved ones of the 43 people killed in the 2014 to build a permanent memorial at the slide site.

In a separate effort, John Hadaway — whose brother Steven was among those killed in the slide — says they’re also lobbying the state Transportation Commission to rename the stretch of highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington the Oso Memorial Highway.

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“It’s just another step to accomplish the goals we all want to accomplish,” John Hadaway told KIRO Radio. “The big thing for me and a lot of the families is — it’s everybody’s family member, the community, volunteers, the firefighters, FEMA — this is who it’s for, plus the big thing is the 43 people, to keep their legacy alive with everything that went on. It needs to be there.”

For John, and others touched by the slide traveling down that stretch of the highway just in front of where the Steelhead Drive neighborhood was can be a difficult experience. But most endure it, and travel to the site at lease once a year if not more to visit the 43 trees that were planted for each of those killed in the slide.

“It’s hard to put into words what I’m feeling, but it’s a whole new world when you drive through there,” he said. “I’ve met people that just heard about it on the news down there, and I’m over by my brother’s tree, and they will come over and tap me on the shoulder and asked me if I lost someone and they’re crying. And we’d hug; never knew the person until that second. It has a lot of emotion, it’s going to have a lot of history.”

For John, renaming the highway is important for the legacy of his brother Steven.

“He was just on the job installing a satellite dish, and that day he went to work and he didn’t come home. It means a lot to me to have his legacy be a part of this. When people go, they’re going to see my brother.”

But in order to get the highway renamed Oso Memorial Highway, they need your help in the form of letters of support for the plan to the state Transportation Commission.

Local leaders are also getting involved, including state lawmakers from the area. The Snohomish County Council is expected to pass a resolution Wednesday in support of the proposal to rename the highway that will be passed on to the transportation commission.