OSo0619

One of the first pieces of the permanent Oso memorial. A sculpture titled “It Was a Home” that replicates the original row of mailboxes that used to mark the entrance to the Steelhead Drive community before it was destroyed in the Oso mudslide.

 

Fundraising for the Oso slide memorial will continue this month with the PNW Paradise Gala that will be held in downtown Seattle.

The event will happen at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront Ballroom on June 22, beginning at 6 p.m.

There will be a live auction, live entertainment, dinner and a cocktail hour. Tickets are $150.

The effort to build a permanent memorial at the site of the slide where 43 people passed away begin in earnest last year.

“We have a temporary memorial that WSDOT help us set up with some trees, and that is great, but it’s not quite enough as it doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Dayn Brunner, who is part of the family fundraising committee for the project.

Brunner’s lost his sister to the slide five years ago. “She was the only one who was driving at the time,” said Brunner. “Helping with this makes me feel really good. It’s kind of like therapy for me to help my sister’s legacy live on."

The planned memorial at the site would help preserve the memory of those who died, as well as explain the event for visitors, said Brunner.

“It would tell the stories of the 43 victims, of the geological event, the survivors and recognize the response of the emergency responders,” he said.

The upcoming PNW Paradise Gala will be the next fundraising event for the memorial.

The live auction will include a number of items, said Brunner. “There’s a lot of stuff from the Stillaguamish Valley,” he said.

That includes items like guided fishing tours, scenic tours and a one-hour helicopter tour.

There are also some sports items available such as Seahawks tickets and a signed jersey and helmet from recently retired Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin.

The total project is estimated to cost between $4 million to $6 million, said Brunner.

“We don’t think it will cost that much in the end, because so many people have said they will donate their labor or their materials,” he said.

Because the site is on Snohomish County land there are some restrictions on what kind of donated labor they can use though, he said.

Brunner added that the memorial will likely be completed in phases, and the first phase could include a parking lot for the site. He hopes to be able to finish that phase soon.

“The fundraising has been going well so far,” said Brunner.

Snohomish County and the state of Washington have both supported the project with funds.

Brunner said they received a lot of money from the state. “They told us not to expect that because it was so late in the budget cycle, but we still got it,” he said.

A couple of other fundraisers have also raised funds for the memorial.

For more information on the upcoming gala or to donate directly for the slide memorial, go to slidememorial.com.

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