Oso landslide: What to know 10 years after deadliest mudslide in US history

The deadliest landslide in United States history happened 10 years ago in Oso, Washington.

Keep reading to learn what you need to know about the Oso landslide.

When and where did the Oso landslide happen?

At 10:37 a.m. on March 22, 2014, a hillside above the town of Oso collapsed and sent a wall of mud and debris into the Steelhead Haven neighborhood, killing 43 people. The highway running alongside was buried 20 feet deep.

Rescue crews and volunteers spent months searching for the victims, who were all eventually brought back to their families. 

FOX 13 will be looking back at the stories out of Oso on Thursday, March 21. Watch live starting at 4 p.m. on FOX LOCAL. And watch the one-hour special on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m.

Every year since the slide, the community has gathered to pray and read aloud the names of the 43 victims, as well as a moment of silence at 10:37 a.m.

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Nine people survived — including a mother and baby who were reunited in a hospital two weeks later.

43 people killed in Oso landslide

Many of the victims — retirees, grandparents, military veterans, office workers, young families — were simply at home on a weekend. Others just happened to be there: three contractors working on a house. Someone installing a satellite TV dish. A plumber servicing a hot-water tank.

The following are the victims of the landslide:

  • Alan Bejvl, 21
  • Delaney Webb, 19
  • Marcy Satterlee, 61
  • Thom Satterlee, 65
  • Shelley Bellomo, 55
  • Jerry Logan, 63
  • Julie Farnes, 59
  • Adam Farnes, 23
  • Gloria Halstead, 67
  • Jerry Halstead, 74
  • Steve Harris, 52
  • Theresa Harris, 53
  • Christina Jefferds, 45
  • Sanoah Huestis, 4 months
  • Larry Miller, 58
  • Sandy Miller, 64
  • John Regelbrugge, 49
  • Kris Regelbrugge, 44
  • Katie Ruthven, 34
  • Shane Ruthven, 43
  • Wyatt Ruthven, 4
  • Hunter Ruthven, 6
  • JuDee Vandenburg, 64
  • Lou Vandenburg, 71
  • Billy Spillers, 30
  • Jovon Mangual, 13,
  • Kaylee Spillers, 5
  • Brooke Spillers, 2
  • Ron DeQuilettes, 52
  • Tom Durnell, 65
  • Bonnie Gullikson, 91
  • Mark Gustafson, 54
  • Steve Hadaway, 53
  • Denver Harris, 14
  • Amanda Lennick, 31
  • Linda McPherson, 69
  • Joseph R. Miller, 47
  • Stephen Neal, 55
  • Michael W. Pearson, 74
  • Summer Raffo, 36
  • Lon Slauson, 59
  • Brandy Ward, 58
  • William Welsh, 66

Slide Memorial

In late 2021, Snohomish County Council approved $4.8 million in the 2022 budget to secure the last piece of funding needed to build a memorial commemorating the Oso Slide. Family and friends have been advocating for a memorial for years.

Friday marks the 10th anniversary of the collapse and on the same day, a Slide Memorial will be unveiled. After the mountainside collapsed, obliterating a neighborhood and 43 lives in the worst landslide disaster in U.S. history, Jessica Pzsonka made a promise -– to herself, to her bereft parents and to her late sister, who was buried along with two young sons, her husband and in-laws.

Oso Strong

Pszonka would see a permanent memorial created where relatives and visitors could feel her sister’s presence and reflect on the serenity that drew the family to Oso, as well as the forces that left an immense scar in the forested Cascade Mountain foothills along the north fork of the Stillaguamish River, 55 miles (89 km) northeast of Seattle.

Ten years later, that memorial is complete, and Pszonka is leaving. She put her home up for sale and is moving, with her parents, to Texas.

"I need to get them out of here," she said. "They cannot snap out of it. It’s like it happened yesterday, every day, when they drive by the school that the kids would have gone to."

What caused the Oso landslide?

The trauma that engulfed Oso, a rural community of a couple hundred residents, on March 22, 2014, was a national wake-up call about the dangers of landslides. Washington state began hiring more staff and conducting more mapping to get a better handle on the risk, and it tightened guidelines on logging landslide-prone slopes amid concerns that clearcutting near the top of the scar might have helped cause the disaster.

Congress in 2020 adopted the National Landslides Preparedness Act to create a national strategy to identify, understand and protect against landslides — legislation pushed by lawmakers from Washington state, including Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene.

"It was really hard for anyone to imagine how enormous the impact was — that you really had to be there to see that this side of a mountain collapsed into the valley and up the other side, wiping out an entire community," DelBene said. "I personally wanted to do anything I could to make sure that a natural disaster like this did not become another national tragedy."


Sen. Cantwell pushes to improve emergency response ahead of 10-year anniversary of Oso landslide

Oso landslide memorial approved by Snohomish County

Oso strong: The pain that connected the Oso community is what keeps them close today

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