Letters to the Editor

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LANDSLIDE: Oso tragedy need not have happened

Letter by Dave Stevens, Gig Harbor on March 28, 2014 at 10:30 am with No Comments »
March 28, 2014 12:28 pm

We retired to Washington for what it offers in culture, scenery, water, forests and the proximity to grandchildren.

What this state is lacking is geological common sense backed by legislative action. Many geoscientists have recently come foreword with the observation that the Oso slide was a predictable and recurring event. The folks concerned with zoning have dropped the ball in this case. Land developers are not concerned with factors that undermine their interests.

The real tragedy in waiting is a landslide on the flanks of Mount Rainer – a matter of when, not if – and the massive lahar (mudflow caused by the sliding and melting of several cubic miles of ice and rock) that will occur.

Tens of thousands are at risk on the floodplains of the Puyallup River tributaries. This state needs both a seriously effective warning system and zoning regulations that save lives.

(Stevens is a retired geological engineer.)

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