• FEMA offers buyout to people in Oso slide zone; some worry it's not enough

    By: Joanna Small

    Updated:

    EVERETT, Wash. - People who lost everything in the deadly Oso landslide may finally get something back. Nearly a year and a half later the federal government is offering to pay them for their property in the form of a $6.6 million buyout.
     
    KIRO 7 first met Robin Youngblood when she was carrying a painting that surfaced along with her from a mountain of mud. 

    He rescued it along with me, and I carried it into the Red Cross post that night,” she told us from inside her new home in Darrington back in March.
     
    Most everything else she owned -- including her Oso home -- was lost in the deadly landslide, but now FEMA is willing to buy it from her, or at least the empty plot of land.

    >> PHOTOS: Images from the deadly mudslide in Snohomish County

    "A lot of my family history is still buried in that ground and for me it's become an altar for all those who lost their lives,” she said in March, days before the first anniversary of the natural disaster.
     
    Wednesday she told us by email that although that "altar" would be hard to part with, she is one of 128 property owners considering FEMA's offer. Snohomish County officials tell us all 128 property owners said they'll do at least that -- consider it.
     
    "For the people it means they will have an opportunity to have the county acquire their property and have no other liability or association with that property, if they choose to,” said Heather Kelly, who is leading the county’s long-term recovery effort. She has been working on securing the money for a year.
     
    Once the property owner decides to do the buyout, the county will own the property. They can keep it, but right now there's a moratorium on building there, so neither the county nor the current property owners can do anything with it.

    >> VIDEO: On anniversary of Oso landslide, survivors look forward

    Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report

    Next Up: