June 18, 2024 4:36 am

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Volunteer Timber Framers raise portals to honor victims of the 2014 Oso Mudslide

By Snohomish County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism | Press Release

After a seven-month delay, two hand-crafted wooden portals were raised across the Whitehorse Trail to honor the 43 slide victims, their families and the community.

OSO, Wash., October 9, 2020 – Snohomish County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and the Timber Framers Guild raised two wooden portals as part of the SR 530 Slide Memorial on Saturday October 10. With donated materials and mostly volunteer labor, this project was a collaborative effort to continue honoring the victims and families from the devastating mudslide that struck the surrounding community in 2014.  

The two portals were built by hand with exquisite care and craftsmanship to honor the memory of the 43 loved ones that lost their lives and the immense loss still being felt by the community from the impact of the slide. “We are doing this for Snohomish County but also for the community of Oso and for the people that were lost and the suffering that has been left in the aftermath of that huge loss.” said Mack Magee, the Executive Director of the Timber Framers Guild. “They have had to deal with trauma, and this is an effort to honor all of the suffering that has occurred.” 

The portals were originally planned to be raised in March for the six-year anniversary of the slide, but the raising was delayed due to COVID-19. The structures are each composed of four planes which have been fabricated at the Evergreen State Fair Park ahead of time. The timbers were transported to the SR 530 Slide Memorial and raised using a telescoping boom and forklift on Saturday. The structures were finished on site at each end of the memorial, serving as portals spanning the width of the trail. To complete the work, wooden pegs that have been signed and written to deceased loved ones were driven into the frame. 

The Timber Framers Guild, founded in 1985, is a non-profit association dedicated to the craft of timber framing. The crew of framers traveled from all over the country to donate their time, labor and skills for this important project. “To give up a week is 2% of your year and your income,” Magee said. “And that is a huge donation. It is really a sign of how important it is to the people to come and to do this. We are bringing the skills and knowledge that we have and using that to help a community to heal.” 

Snohomish County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism continues to work with families of victims, survivors and responders of the March 22, 2014, SR 530 Slide on the memorial project at the site of the tragic event to honor those who were lost, those who survived, the responders and the resilience of the surrounding communities. For updates on the memorial project, please visit: https://www.slidememorial.com/ 

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