City, business, school officials comment on Oso mudslide

ARLINGTON — Several local officials have released statements about the March 22 Oso mudslide.

It has been a difficult few days in our community, as we deal with the devastating effects of the Oso slide. With time, our hearts will heal, but right now, our community is struggling.

On behalf of the Arlington City Council and the citizens of Arlington, I would like to express our gratitude to Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Gov. Inslee and all of their staff, who were on site within hours of this tragic event in the community of Oso, east of Arlington. They provided a quick response, and were able to clear the path for additional state and federal resources to help our community recover from the slide.

Many of you have asked me how Arlington as a community can help our friends and neighbors in need in Oso and Darrington. We are truly blessed with the incredible outpouring of help from our local residents and regional teams, to help in the search and rescue in Oso. With the arrival of highly trained crews from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Washington National Guard, it is now time to let the experts do their job.

— Barbara Tolbert, mayor of Arlington

In times of tragedy, we see the value of our amazing small town and close community, in the efforts put forth by so many people, businesses and community groups to offer help and support to those in need.

We are grateful for the support of our very own Mayor Barbara Tolbert, for working so quickly and effectively with our state Senators, Representatives and Gov. Inslee to clear a path for federal resources so desperately needed by our community. But mostly, we are thankful for the wonderful first responders who have been doing the difficult tasks without pause.

— Kristen Granroth, president of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce

Our school districts and communities have been dramatically impacted by this tragic  event. Our primary focus has been on taking care of our students, staff and families. We all hurt.

School is a safe and nurturing environment, and our teams have been doing a tremendous job these past few days. We have additional counseling and support staff available at all of our schools.

We have received so much help and support from our colleagues, from around the county and the state, as well as additional assistance from local agencies. We are so thankful.

The slide happened right on the border of our two school districts. We share students and families in the affected area. Our partnership has been strong, and we will continue to support one another as we find ways to heal in the coming weeks. We are strong — Arlington, Oso and Darrington strong.

— Dr. Kristine McDuffy and Dr. Dave Holmer, superintendents of the Arlington and Darrington school districts

The devastating news of the landslide in Oso has continued to impact us deeply in our school district.

Our students and staff immediately jumped into action, and are responding with fundraising efforts to assist the American Red Cross. As we watch and wait on the continuing rescue and recovery efforts underway, our heartfelt sympathy and thoughts go out to the families awaiting word on their missing relatives.

We are mindful of the need to help understand our own students’ feelings and ways of coping right now. Disasters can leave children feeling frightened, confused and insecure, and it’s important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help, if reactions to stress begin to occur. We will continue to be vigilant in that regard. It is truly awe-inspiring to witness the fortitude being demonstrated, by those who have relatives or friends who have died or remain missing, and by the Oso community at large.

There is a sense of pride throughout our district, as we observe the level of effort and coordination being dedicated by the emergency services providers. Their tenacity and compassion are making a positive impact upon our students, and district officials are thankful for what they are doing, and the manner in which they are attending to this horrific incident.

— Dr. Dennis Haddock, superintendent of the Lakewood School District

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