Snohomish County closes on first buyout of land in Oso slide

OSO, Wash. (AP) — Snohomish County has closed on its first purchase of property in the Oso mudslide zone.

The slide in March 2014 killed 43 people and damaged a huge swath of land. The Snohomish County Council has agreed to purchase 100 remaining parcels of land where the slide struck. Some property owners have declined the county's offer.

The county will use $8 million to complete the buyouts through a federal grant program and with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Part of the agreement with FEMA requires the land to remain as open space, and to never be developed.

Heather Kelly, who is leading the county's slide-recovery efforts, says some of the pending transactions could close later this month.