4Culture to help fund FHNA’s “After Oso” Landslide video

4Culture to help fund FHNA’s “After Oso” Landslide video

This March 22 marks the anniversary of the massive landslide in Oso, WA. that sent muddy debris spilling across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and tragically led to the deaths of 43 Washingtonians. Next month’s commemorations will be a terribly sad occasion for friends and relatives of the victims of the devastating mudslide that was thought to be triggered by extraordinary rainfall.

However, because thousands of people are at risk for future landslides in the Puget Sound area, the event will also be an opportunity for Washington State residents to seriously consider the hazards of such geological events in landslide-prone areas and what can be done to protect against them in coming years. Because half of the Finn Hill neighborhood lies within King County’s “slide” hazard zone, it’s of particular interest here on our shoreline slopes.

“This isn’t some pointy-headed academic exercise but has real meaning here.”

The Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance last June sponsored a well-attended public event on the hazards of local landslides — and videotaped the presentation. That tape is being turned into a short video addressing the potential risks of mudslides and landslides here on Finn Hill in the wake of the landslide disaster. “This isn’t some pointy-headed academic exercise but has real meaning here,” University of Washington geologist and professor Kathy Troost told the assembled group, while reassuring many that Finn Hill isn’t in imminent danger. About 125 local residents came to the meeting, some perhaps because they live in homes built on steep slopes, others drawn by the story that ran in the local paper the week before, addressing local concerns about landslide risks. “Even in recent years, mudslides have closed roads and endangered homes, property, and lives,” as FHNA’s press release stated.


Kathy Troost: Clambering up a hillside in the Puget Sound, geologist Kathy Goetz Troost is senior lecturer in the earth and Space Sciences Department at the University of Washington.

Called “After Oso: Can Landslides Be Prevented in Slide-hazard Areas Like Finn Hill?” the video will telescope this 45-minute presentation, which  drew upon geology experts, public officials, and citizens into a 5- to 10-minute short. 4Culture, the cultural services agency for King County, has granted $1500 towards the video project. 4Culture, according to its mission statement, “ is committed to making our region stronger by supporting citizens and groups who preserve our shared heritage, and create arts and cultural opportunities for residents and visitors.”

When finished, the video will be aired on this website, distributed as a free, digitally-accessible short video recording, via Facebook or other social media, and broadcast at other, future public meetings. At the event last June, geologist and geology professor Kathy Troost from the University of Washington, delivered a keynote speech with power-point slides. Her presentation was followed by responses from local planning and environmental officials from the city of Kirkland, including Jenny Gaus, who overseas surface water engineering for the Public Works Department, and Nancy Cox, city planner in the Planning Department; Charles Couvrette, a local geotech engineer, and Louis Berner, a citizen activist, also presented their perspectives.

Working on the project will be videographer and sound engineer Van Cooper of GameChanger Productions, and FHNA board members Francesca Lyman and Bill Blanchard.

FHNA is encouraging residents and members to share any photos and maps that could be used for the video.

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