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Oso landslide memorial park announced on 4th anniversary of disaster

The scene that has been the place of such sadness may be transformed into one of healing.

When Tom Pszonka visits the site of the Oso landslide, he rarely gets out of the car.

The pain is still too much.

"It's something that buries into your soul and it doesn't go away," Tom said.

Four years to the day that the deadliest landslide in American history killed 43 people in the tiny Snohomish County town of Oso, Tom is still struggling.

"I spent 30 years as a police officer," Tom said. "I always thought I'd be a lot stronger."

Tom and his wife, Karen, lost their daughter, two grandchildren, son-in-law and their son-in-law's parents at 10:37 a.m. on March 22, 2014.

Three generations -- gone in an instant.

"Those people who say it's gonna go away and be easier, it really doesn't," Tom said.

To mark the four year anniversary of the slide, family members of the dead, survivors and first responders gathered in the shadow of the hillside that gave way. Firefighters rang a bell for and recited the name of each of the 43 lives lost.

Little has changed at the site over the past four years. Soon, however, the scene that has been the place of such sadness may be transformed into one of healing.

A four-acre memorial park is now planned.

If funding can be secured, each family will have its own space made of steel and stone. First responders will be honored as well as those from the community who helped recover the dead.

The total cost of the project runs between $3 million-$4 million. All of that money must be raised through donations. A fundraising effort is now underway.

Credit: Pittman, Travis
A sketch of a proposed park memorializing the 43 victims of the 2014 Oso, Wash., landslide. (Credit: SR 530 Mudslide Memorial Funding Request)

Organizers are hoping to raise the money by this time next year and break ground on the slide's fifth anniversary.

Tom Pszonka said it is finally a way for him to move forward.

"I've been so frustrated over the past four years about what to do. Now we have a vision, and it's going to be great," Tom said. "I'll be getting out of the car now."

SR 530 Muslide Memorial Funding Request

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