Oso Mudslide

It’s hard to believe next Tuesday will mark the 1 month anniversary of the Oso landslide. Dave and I were at a distiller’s tasting event called Snohomish on the Rocks that day. I remember when Dave got the phone call from his friend, Guy. We both thought, “A mudslide. It’s happened before up there. No biggy.” After our event Dave called a buddy that lives in Oso and found out it was a very big deal and total devastation. From that point we both went into shock, grief and then how do we help mode.


That Saturday night was the first opportunity to help. Dave got a phone call at 9:30PM from a client asking Dave to come and get his horse because their place was flooding. That seems like a simple enough request, but the client lives on the Darrington side. Dave and some friends had to make a 4-hour round trip to get the horse. She is now living with us. The following week Dave knew he needed to do more. He headed up to the Oso fire station dressed in his logging clothes and packing his chainsaw. He was put to work as a sawyer. He cut logs so the excavators could pick them up and move them. Homes were buried under these muddy log piles. The work was slow going. They needed more heavy equipment. By Thursday of that week Dave told me that he had to get a machine up there. He’s an operator, he can do more. He called a rental company and got an excavator dropped off at the site by either Friday or Monday—by now the days have become a blur. The rental fee is $2,000 a week out of our pocket. He spent the next couple of weeks operating the track hoe and working along with the FEMA group, which included his cousin Fred. Who would imaging that Freddy, a Seattle Firefighter would be working in a debris field with his cousin in Oso/Darrington.


While Dave was working in the debris field I was helping organize a donation drive at AMT where I work. A co-worker had connections with the media and AMT became a donation drop off point. The donation response was overwhelming to say the least. We were so fortunate that the distillery was still empty. We took all the supplies for the worker to the distillery. We organized everything on pallets. It became a staging area to replenish supplies for the people working in the debris field. This kept me busy for 14 days straight.


It’s been 3 weeks now. Dave and I are both getting back to our normal routine. Tuesday was his last day on the site. It’s time to focus on the distillery again. The Monday after the slide I submitted our paperwork for the Distilled Spirit Plant permit to operate. This was a huge accomplishment. We also opened a bank account at Coastal Community bank. I would say this completes phase 1.


Next on our list is Dave has to get the plant set up. We have about 3 months before we could potentially have our TTB inspection. I will be working on our brand strategy and labels. After that we will work at creating a website and social media pages. So stay tune for our new logo….