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Mudslide survivor reflects on the deadly disaster, six months later

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OSO – Tomorrow marks six months since that deadly mudslide in Oso. Today, first responders, family and friends gathered to remember the lives lost and continue the healing process.

Robin Youngblood is one of the nine survivors of the slide. She was glad she could share today’s service with some of the others.

“It’s always good to come together, we share something that others really can’t understand,” she says. “So being together i think is important to all of us.”

Over the past six months, crews have cleared mud and debris from Highway 530. They’ve also flattened the area where Youngblood’s home stood. She has mixed feelings about that.

“It’s hard to look at it because it sort of minimizes everything that i went through, and my neighbors who died. You can’t even see where their houses were.”

Of course, no one will forget the 43 people who died here. This flag was lowered to half-staff today to honor them.

“We lost friends and family, homes, pets, livelihoods, and years of memories,” says Oso fire chief Willy Harper.

But Youngblood and others are trying to move on. They received some money from the government and charities like the Red Cross, and have found new places to live. Youngblood settled in Darrington, but she’s now separated from her family.

“We weren’t able to find a place that was affordable that we could all live in. So for now, we’ve kind of gone different ways.”

She knows she can’t go back to Oso. She’s not sure the rest of the mountain will hold if there’s a wet winter.

“Frankly once in a lifetime is enough. I would not move back there if I could, the danger is too great.”

She hopes we learn from this disaster, so other communities don’t have to suffer like Oso did. But she says she and the other survivors have already learned one thing.

“The big thing for all of us is to remember is to be grateful.”

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