Oso Will Rise Again

The tragedy taking place in the small community of Oso, Washington is heartbreaking for certain, but taking a second or third look you will be blown over by the cooperative, communal effort of the town’s survivors, countless men and women from Darrington and Arlington and the unsung heroes who flocked in by the hundreds, with saws, shovels and literally their bare hands to dig. Anyone growing up in a tiny community, like Oso, knows when disaster strikes everyone runs toward it - not away. No one asks, “What can I do to help?” They fly at it instinctually and don’t quit until the job is finished or they are too exhausted to take one more step. Sapped to the core, they still have to be dragged off the site to take a well-earned break and sustenance.

I am speaking to the choir for most readers as anyone growing up in a small town, particularly a logging community, you already know what I am about to say. If it’s reinforcing to the majority of readers that’s great, but more importantly, if it sheds light on people who have never been exposed to tightly woven communities that exist in small town America, I’m here to tell you absolutely nothing will keep these folks from completing their quest for closure.

Positive response from outside the community has been unimaginable, be it food, money, clothing, equipment, generosity or compassion. There is no way to thank everyone who helped, but I do want to acknowledge Jessie Jones (KINGTV). He may have gone into Oso as a reporter and stranger, but walked out as an adopted member of the community. He saw need, hit the ground running to get donations and never looked back, while other reporters on the scene were doing their damnedest to lay slide-blame at the feet of the loggers (again)! How cockeyed is that? History and subsequent industry regulation speaks for itself. Government agencies have a hand in every pot and you can’t do anything without approval and kissing their ring! Know any government agency who doesn’t assume your business is their business? Me neither!

An ex-Darrington guy (2006-2010), sent a letter to the Olympian, criticizing Oso residents. I say “guy” because I think I saw hair on his chest as he said “...over my 77 years, I’ve done some construction ... to see some of the places people want to put a home is just beyond my thinking then they wonder why their dream home is wiped out by forces of nature.” He went on to ask “...why do they need the local, state or federal government to tell them it was a dangerous place to build a home?” Need? They don’t need governmental intrusion founded on how much money the agency can squeeze out of an already dry turnip (you) in an effort to fill in financial potholes created by their own SNAFUS, overspending and budget mismanagement! So, Mr. Contractor~Dude, it was an agency official who gave the green light to build homes within the danger zone of the Hazel Slide in Oso. Under a veil of proficiency, with his expertise hangin’ out in plain sight, innocent people accepted his authority within a department specifically designated to independently give the yea or nay to a building project. They had no idea they were gambling their lives on this guy’s perception; what a tragic series of events. All of you have my sympathy and condolences in your loss. Oso will rise again, stronger than ever before . . . but for now, it is Oso heartbreaking.

Sherrie Bond welcomes your comments, and can be reached at BondTruck@aol.com.