Rafting company takes first paid trip through site of Oso landslide

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OSO, Wash. — Despite opposition from survivors, even threats of a lawsuit from victims’ attorneys, a rafting company took paying customers through the site of the Oso landslide for the first time Sunday.

Of the number of rafting trips he`s offered in his forty years of business, few have been as controversial for Captain Dave Button as the one on the Stillaguamish River.

For the first time, he took customers through the site of the Oso landslide, where 43 people died.

“They are concerned that I am taking people through a graveyard,” Button acknowledges.

Data pix.

It`s an accusation that has Button facing a cease and desist notice from victims` families, but it still didn`t stop him from taking a tour down the river Sunday, through calm but at times tough and shallow waters.

The controversy didn`t stop Mark Krmopotich from paying to go on the trip.

“I`m not here to disrespect,” said Krmopotich. “I`m just here to enjoy the nature, really see a different perspective of what really happened.”

But the obstacles on the water were just the beginning of what would come in the end, where Seth Jefferds was waiting. He is an Oso Volunteer Firefighter, who lost both his wife and granddaughter in the slide. He believes these tours are exploiting his family`s heartache.

“Right now I`m angry," said Jefferds. "I’m heartbroken all day long, everyday. Right now I`m angry because this shouldn`t happen."

Buttton said he understands their pain, but his intention isn`t to hurt rather to educate.

Sunday’s trip may be the first and last of the season, but Button said it’s not because of the cease and desist notice but because of the conditions of the river.


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  • KB

    I am so sick of these types of people. The ones that go out of their way to hurt you, but then say that wasn’t their intention so it doesn’t matter that you did get hurt. The victims expressed how this makes them feel and the Jerk just says, well that’s not my intention. Guess what, it’s not the intention that matters, it’s the outcome. How anybody could take that tour knowing how the survivors feel is totally beyond me. Shame on each and every one of them.

    • Magnus

      KB, I totally disagree with you. The survivors and family need to get over themselves. Was it a tragedy? yes, do I feel empathy for their loss? Yes. However that doesn’t mean that they should sue a man for doing his business. It’s stupid and pointless. What bad will come from people visiting the site? If you start here, why allow people to view the USS Arizona memorial? What about the Arlington cemetery? What about the Alamo? Gettysburg? or any of the hundreds of other sites of tragedy around the world? People should stop going to the World Trade center because of all victims who feel its horrible that they rebuilt the tower and made a memorial. Oh and every movie that features those same towers should be remastered to remove them because it could illicit feelings of sadness and anger.
      It’s not a graveyard, its the site of a natural disaster.

      • wowjustwow

        You’re probably right, but I think the people up here just need a little more time. For this guy to take money for a “guided” trip through this area right now, as the river there is maybe 2 feet deep (you could walk down it), seems to be a reaction to the cease and desist order by him. Just bad taste in my opinion, but I get where you’re coming from.

  • "peety"

    Oso does not own the river. Tragedy is part of life. The people of Boston and NYC did not get the luxury of keeping people away from the site of their tragedies.

  • d_2

    Residents of Oso and those who perished do not have exclusive rights to an area or land because they are grieving. They need to change their position and embrace the site as NYC and OKC has done with their atrocities.

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