OLYMPIA, Wash. -- There were tears and hugs in Olympia Wednesday as family members of the 43 victims who died in the Oso landslide almost 5 years ago asked for part of a highway to be renamed in their honor.
"My brother was lost in the slide, he was found exactly two months to the day," said John Hadaway.
Hadaway's brother Steven was one of those killed in the deadliest landslide in U.S. history.
On March 22, 2014, part of an unstable hill collapsed, sending a wall of mud and debris into the community of Steelhead Haven. Forty-nine homes were destroyed and 43 people were killed.
Rescue crews and volunteers spent months searching for the victims, who were all eventually recovered.
Wednesday, Hadaway and other family members appeared before the state Transpiration Commission, requesting to rename a 23-mile stretch of highway 530. There were hugs as they received approval.
"To keep their legacy alive, that’s what the goal is. To make sure nobody forgets. To make sure it’s never forgotten. To make sure that people understand, there were 43 lives. That’s sacred ground to me. You could drive down a highway all day long, it’s not a highway to me," Hadaway said.
“The key word is memorial. It’s the Oso Slide Memorial Highway, and that’s where we’re at. In memoriam right now. And we want to constantly remember all of our loved ones," said Dayn Brunner, whose sister died in the Oso slide.
The stretch of highway runs from mile post 22 outside Arlington to mile post 45 near Darrington.
The families of the victims and survivors are now working to raise $6 million for a new permanent memorial to honor the victims. More information on how to support the cause is available here.