OSO, Wash. -- A local rafting guide is re-launching a plan to take thrill-seekers on a tour of the site of a deadly landslide. Oso survivors said the site is hallowed ground, not a tourist attraction.
While the Pacific Northwest Float owner David Button agreed to pull his ads in March due to the timing being so close to the one-year mark, he believes this is now the right time.
As a river guide for 40 years, Button has given many rafting tours, even after tragedy.
“I did the Toutle River after Mount St. Helen`s,” said Button, referencing the volcanic eruption that happened 35 years ago.
The most recent one he`s offering is a guided tour down the north fork of the Stillaguamish River. For 45 dollars, his Living Social ad promises customers they`ll 'see the destruction caused by the gigantic mudslide' but with 'proceeds donated to benefit the survivors.'
“The profit will go to those who deserve it, those that lost property here, so I don’t benefit profit-wise at all,” said Button.
When the same tour was being offered on Groupon back in March, Karen Pszonka disapproved of the ad. She lost 6 members of her family in the slide and said the pain is still fresh.
“For this to show up right now, it`s disgusting and very difficult to bear,” she said back in March.
Karen didn`t want the tour then and says she feels the same now. She also said she doesn’t want any of the proceeds Button is offering. She just doesn’t want him to offer the tours at all.
Button said he understands how these families feel, but at the same time believes he is providing a safe and guided tour and honoring those lost the best way he knows how.
“We want to give it more respect and make sure no one stops there and makes sure no one dig through there, so we`ll have it controlled and we`ll have it regulated,” said Button.
Button said he's already sold 50 tours and all the proceeds will go to the Oso Memorial Foundation. Karen Pszonka said she doesn't want his money and plans to do what she can to try to stop these tours.