Monday, March 24, 2014

Tragic Mud Slide

This is a picture of a mud slide that occurred in Snohomish County about 50 miles north of Seattle. It's a terrible tragedy with 8 confirmed deaths, 18 people missing and 30 homes destroyed. This happened without notice on Saturday morning at just after 11am. My heart goes out to the families who having missing loved ones, lost a family member, pets, or their homes or property.

From Seattle Times

8 confirmed dead in mudslide; more than a dozen still missing
With more than a dozen people still missing and hundreds waiting to hear about the fate of loved ones in a mile-wide mudslide, officials said rescuers have not heard any voices from the slide area since Saturday.

ARLINGTON — Hopes dimmed Sunday for finding survivors in the nearly one square mile of muck and debris left by a mudslide that killed at least eight people and demolished dozens of houses.
Officials confirmed eight dead during a community meeting Sunday night in Darrington. Just a few hours earlier, the death toll had stood at four.
Tod Gates, an incident commander, said that as he and other rescuers flew in a helicopter to the Darrington meeting, they spotted the four additional bodies. The dead were not identified Sunday night.
More than a dozen remained missing, but it was unclear just how many.
“We didn’t see or hear any signs of life out there today,” said Travis Hots, chief of Snohomish County Fire Districts 21 and 22, during a Sunday afternoon news conference.
Darkness and shifting debris forced rescuers Saturday night to abandon efforts to reach voices coming from a buried structure.
By Sunday, they heard no more voices, Hots said.
Casualties are likely to rise as the search continues through the wreckage that is all that remains of neighborhoods along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. In addition to destroying 30 or more homes, the slide buried a milelong stretch of Highway 530 under 20 feet or more of mud.
Gov. Jay Inslee warned of grim days ahead during a news conference at Arlington City Hall. “I have a sense we are going to have some hard news here,” he said.
The rain-soaked hillside that slid away Saturday morning was the same one that had partially collapsed in 2006. The area is about 16 miles east of Arlington.
With no positive news forthcoming, relatives of the missing crowded into the Darrington Community Center looking for answers.
Relatives handed photos of missing loved ones to rescue personnel in hopes they might turn up unconscious at a hospital.
Those reportedly missing ranged from Oso-area homeowners to repairmen on work assignments and a group of girls at a slumber party.
Ron Thompson, whose home was destroyed, stopped by the evacuation shelter at Post Middle School in Arlington to find out if his friends turned up alive. “We lost a lot of good kids. I don’t know what else to tell you. It hurts,” he said before driving away.
A 4-month-old baby and her grandmother were also among the missing.
The baby, Sanoah Huestis, lived with her grandparents, Christina and Seth Jefferds. Seth Jefferds, a volunteer firefighter, was not home at the time of the slide and arrived to find his house flattened and his wife and granddaughter missing, said his brother-in-law, Dale Petersen.
“He said it was just like a bulldozer ran over the house,’’ Petersen said.
Although the names of the people killed in the slide were not officially released, one is former Darrington librarian and School Board member Linda McPherson, 69, according to Pete Selvig, a member of the Darrington emergency-response team and a retired U.S. Forest Service employee.
McPherson’s husband, Gary “Mac” McPherson, was also injured. His condition was not immediately known.
The couple’s house and that of their niece and nephew next door were both destroyed, Selvig said. The younger couple were not at home, but their dog was trapped in the debris, he said.
Rescuers tried to get to the dog after hearing whimpering Saturday night, but had to give up because the mud and debris were moving, Selvig said.
McPherson was branch manager of the Darrington library and served for about 15 years on the School Board, said Selvig, who served with her.
He said her approach to the business and challenges of the small rural school district was professional and methodical. She was part of a Darrington contingent that lobbied the state Legislature for funding to rebuild the district’s three aging schools. “Her name is on the plaque on the new elementary,” Selvig said.
Seven people injured in the slide were being treated at area hospitals Sunday.
At Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a 6-month-old baby boy and an 81-year-old man were in critical condition in the intensive-care unit. A 37-year-old man and a 58-year-old man were in serious condition. A 25-year-old woman was in satisfactory condition.
At Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, one woman was in satisfactory condition. Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon reported that a 68-year-old man was in stable condition.
Witnesses described a frantic scene when the slide hit Saturday morning.
Neighbors rushed to retrieve a mud-covered baby within moments, said an Arlington woman who was driving by when the catastrophe occurred.
“We thought it was a car accident,” said Sierra Sansaver, of Arlington, who said she was driving to Darrington to find the road was blocked by mud. “Then you realize there’s a house in the middle of the road.”
“We heard screaming from a house 100 yards from us. A whole bunch of men went in there and pulled out a 6-month-old baby,” Sansaver said. Firefighters also were arriving, she said.
“There was mud, household items everywhere, people screaming, crying, running into the rubbish.”
“Everybody was covered in mud. A lady next door who saw what happened, she was giving them blankets to hold the baby in. They got in a car, and left,” said Sansaver.
The infant at Harborview matched that scenario.
In Darrington, a search-and-rescue team of about 20 people was advised Sunday morning to mark dead bodies if they saw any and keep looking for survivors.
Some workers emerged from the meeting bleary-eyed and dispirited.
One volunteer firefighter who had stopped working around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night said many tragic stories have yet to be told. He watched one rescuer find his own front door, but nothing else — not his home, his wife or his child.
They’re in the “missing” category along with many it is feared will eventually be listed as dead.
“It’s much worse than everyone’s been saying,” said the firefighter, who did not want to be named. “The slide is about a mile wide. Entire neighborhoods are just gone. When the slide hit the river, it was like a tsunami.”
By noon on Sunday, the dammed-up Stillaguamish River was starting to break through a hole in the mile-wide mud wall near Oso, releasing some flow downstream. But officials said that was not a cause for alarm.
“It’s not flowing at a rate that causes concern. There is water coming through. They don’t feel it is going to be a catastrophic burst,” said Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Even if the water breaches the blockage, it is unlikely to cause major flooding downstream, said Brent Bower, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
The forecast for the area near Oso looks dry for most of Monday, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. Rain could return Monday night and into Tuesday, but Burg said “we’re not forecasting anything heavy” — maybe a tenth of an inch.
Through March 19, Arlington had recorded 7.14 inches of rain for the month — just a couple inches short of the wettest March on record. A flash flood warning remained in effect.
Inslee, who cut short a political trip to Montana to fly back to Washington state, thanked rescuers Sunday, and said he was awed by the destruction he witnessed after flying over the scene.
“The devastation is just unrelenting and awesome. There is no stick standing in the path of the slide,” Inslee said. “But there is another powerful force of nature, and that is empathy and compassion.”
Staff reporters Jim Brunner, Lynn Thompson and Nancy Bartley reported from Seattle. Staff reporters Mike Carter, Mike Lindblom, Mike Baker and Christine Clarridge reported from Arlington. Alexa Vaughn reported from Darrington. News researcher Miyoko Wolf also contributed.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Office Selfie

It's a selfie! I've been famous for selfies for more years than I can count and long before they became the rage! I took this picture from my office to send to my parents after they sent me a comic about selfies. Thought it was only fitting!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Big Birthday Coming!

Somebody will be 50 soon!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Crisis Clinic

Busy day that included a great visit and tour of the Crisis Clinic - a great community partner.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


This is Harry one of our three pups. He's a sweetheart despite the fact that he's kinda high maintenance!

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Great Beauty

This is the movie that won best oscar this year. We had been wanting to see it and low and behold it opened at the Seattle Sundance Theatre this weekend. I'm not sure I got all of it but it was beautifully shot and I enjoyed it a lot.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Little Free Library


love these neighborhood little free libraries. I ran across this one tonight on my run home through the Eastlake neighborhood. Kent and I love books and I think I'm going to put one up on our block when we put up our new fence.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring on the Quad

Beautiful spring day in Seattle! This evening we walked from our house through the campus of the UW to to Chipotle Grill for dinner. We walked through the qua and as you can see there were plenty of people out and about enjoying the sun. The cherry trees are just waiting to hit full bloom in a few short weeks. Today I went to an all day meeting on change management. It was pretty good. Hoping to use some of what was learned as we transition our system.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Little things make me happy!

Little gift left in my office from one co-workers for my new office.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stockholm Tickets!

Spent much of the day at the office getting my new office set up and getting caught up. Then Kent and I had a fantastic Vietnamese meal at Ba Bar. So what does all this have to do with the picture of the day? Well this is a picture of Kent purchasing our tickets to Stockholm! Super excited - we are flying into Stockholm and out of Copenhagen. Start week 5 of training this week. Hopefully my leg does not give me much more problems. Feels a little better today. Tomorrow is a 6 mile run so I'll get to test it out.

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Saturday, March 8, 2014


Busy Saturday that started with a 7 mile run which resulted in a slight injury. Hopefully it's fine in a day or two. Basketball mid day - final game of the season. Huskies ended up 9th in the conference. Kent and I will not travel to the PAC -12 tournament for the first time in 5 years. Very sad about that! Tried a new place for dinner over in West Seattle La Romanza. It was very good. Ended the evening seeing the play - Third at Arts West Theatre. It was excellent. I highly recommend you check it out!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Seahawk 12K

Yeah! Signed up for the Seahawks 12k today! Some of my co-workers brought it up and had started a team so we signed up! Looking forward to it! Also on a side note I made it through my first week as the new director for King County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division. It was a great week albeit very busy! I find it invigorating and challenging. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many talented co-workers.

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Season almost over.

Basketball season is coming to an end. This Saturday is our final home game of the year. Huskies lost to UCLA tonight after starting out strong.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Baseball Park

The new husky baseball park is almost done! We are super excited and just picked out our season ticket seats today! The seats are part of the home base club and give us access to club room to get out of the bad weather. Makes baseball in Seattle totally doable! The red dots in the picture are our seats.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Office - moved in today!

Today was my first full day in my new office! It's exciting and weird all at the same time. I love the views from my office and the number of windows. It's a corner office so north I look up 5th towards the Columbia Tower and to the west I look toward the sound and the Smith Tower. My name plate went up today so I guess it's official! I'm a grateful and lucky man.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Work and training

Today was the beginning of week four of my marathon training so after work I ran from downtown to home and logged just over 7 miles. Nice evening for a run. I also started my new job today! I can tell that at least for now I am going to have to choose carefully what I commit myself too - it will quickly get out of control with all the meetings and projects that I could get myself involved in. I'm really going to like the challenge of dealing with the transitions that lay ahead and improving the lives of individuals in along the way. I've not yet moved into my new office - tomorrow my phone and computer will likely be moved in which case I'll need to move.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dale Chihuly

Went to see the movie Nonstop this afternoon at Lincoln Square. They have this beautiful Dale Chihuly chandelier in the lobby which made the picture of the day today! It's Oscar night so I am making Kent and I an Oscar worthy dinner.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

King County Aquatic Center and More.

Welcome to March! Hard to believe it's already here! I started my day with a 16 mile run which really tired me out! I ran through the Arboretum to Madison Park then along Lake Washington until I reached I-90. Great run and a nice morning for it. From there we had lunch and then went and picked out tile for our entryway. Then we made our way down to Federal Way to the PAC-12 men's diving championships at the King County Aquatic Center. We've done this several times and it's always a lot of fun. So today's picture is from today's event. After that we went home and took care of the pups and then took short nap before heading to see the Oscar short movies to end the day! Busy full day! It was awesome!

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