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Oso mudslide families outraged over ‘See the Destruction’ river raft trips

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SEATTLE — A local river rafting outfit is offering potential customers a ‘Stilliguamish Raft Adventure’ that takes participants along the site of the Oso mudslide that killed 43 people last March 22.

Pacific NW Float Trips says the trip costs $90 per person, with lunch, or $45 with a Groupon deal.

The company said the tours will give people insight into what happened and allow them to remember those who lost their lives.

“Something good can come of it because the ones that are alive should try to leave a legacy for the ones they lost,” said company owner Dave Button.

The company’s website reads, “See the destruction caused by the gigantic mudslide along the North Fork of the Stilliguamish River.”

Button says 25% of the proceeds will benefit the survivors, but admits the details have not been worked out.

A law firm representing several family members of victims is threatening to take action if the plan moves forward.

Attorney Karen Willie fired off an email to the company asking Pacific NW Float Trips to voluntarily abandon plans for the river tours.

In the letter she wrote: “They (victims’ families) are appalled that your company would make the last resting place of their families into a tourist attraction.  The specter of gawkers munching on lunch in the comfort of a boat discussing an area that is a field of pain and loss to them is so insensitive as to be almost incredible.”

Button admits he didn’t consult with family members. He added that the first time he spoke with many of them was after they saw his ad on Groupon.

"To me it is like a memorial,” said Button. “So there's got to be some way to honor those people who lost their life there."

Button plans on meeting with family members next week.

RELATED:  ‘Jeopardy!’ slammed on social media for clue about deadly Oso landslide


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  • James (Seattle born) Burton

    It amuses me how in historically landslide ridden northwest people still don’t have a clue where to live and where not to live. Some common sense rules when it comes to residence locations, 1) Don’t live below a cliff, 2) Don’t live on the edge of a cliff, 3) If the house is below the street you run the risk of flooding, 4) Don’t live near a river, once again flooding. If a house in one of these locations was offered to me for free I would decline. Life is precious and I’m sorry for the people who lost their lives in Oso, but personally I’d be embarrassed and I’d try to stay out of the “news” as much as possible. Quit blaming others for your poor decisions and move on…I’m not going near the area in fear of another slide.

    • Amber

      You only say this now that you see the loss of lives and families. I can guarentee you that if you saw the location of these homes and houses you would have had no idea that something like this were to have ever happened! You can judge now but when you are the one to live there you are the only one to know the truth! And yes there is still danger out there and we appreciate you not going there because this land is sacred and should be treated as such!

    • VictoriaLeatta

      you have no idea what your talking about! Not all of those families knew the risk. Just like I didn’t know the risk I was taking just driving down that road everyday. Neither did the people who were killed driving down that road that morning. For you to say stop blaming people is incredibly rediculous. They weren’t blaming the rafting company for anything other then being insensitive to what happened to their families. Stop speaking of things you have no clue about!

  • Troy

    What happened in Oso was a terrible tragedy, but come on. Final resting places are some of the biggest tourist attractions there are. Arlington National Cemetery, Ground Zero in NYC, every battlefield ever. They are all tourist attractions. “Tourist attraction” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As far as I know, these families don’t own the river.

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