43 trees to honor those killed in Oso mudslide

Forty-three trees are to be planted in a small grove east of Steelhead Drive.They’re hardy evergreens that grow well in Pacific Northwest soil — vibrant even in the muddy, rainy season.

The trees will honor the 43 people who died in the Oso mudslide six months ago.They are among the finishing touches on a new stretch of state Highway 530 through the site of the March 22 mudslide.

Road construction is wrapping up weeks ahead of schedule. By the end of the month, the state Department of Transportation and contractor Guy F. Atkinson Construction expect that landscaping will be the only major work remaining along the rebuilt roadway.

The grove will belong to Oso, to the survivors of the slide and to the families who lost loved ones.“We wanted to do something special for the community,” said Travis Phelps, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. “There’s obviously a lot of loss surrounding this project we’ve been working on.”State employees consulted family members before most of the public meetings the department has held periodically since the slide. They brainstormed options for honoring the victims, and people liked the idea of a peaceful grove, Phelps said.

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