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“Sustainable” land use issues now in spotlight –
now deemed important after mudslide kills scores

“This close-up image taken by a DigitalGlobe satellite on Monday [March 31] shows the extent of damage caused by the mudslide in Oso, Wash., which devastated the area on March 22.”
Photo credit: DigitalGlobe satellite on NBC News

– “Limits to Development: When Should You Avoid Building at All Costs?”
By Erik Ortiz for NBC News:
“Even before the massive mudslide mangled homes, residents and officials knew the risks of living in the shadow of an unstable hillside in rural Washington state. Yet they built, and continued to live in an area that 15 years ago was flagged for having a potential for a large catastrophic failure.

But stopping building or uprooting people in Oso would have been a virtually impossible task, said J. David Rogers, a professor of geological engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

In a country where personal property rights are coveted, government can be hesitant to force people out or stop construction without an immediate, justifiable reason, he told NBC News.”
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– “Landslide Tragedy”
“The little settlement near the small town of Oso was all but totally wiped out when a huge area of mountainside gave way. Authorities are saying the landslide was the result of recent heavy rains. This may
be partly correct, but given that heavy rain is a constant in this and other parts of Washington state, there may be other factors involved – factors that cautious people should consider.

Just as there is no good sense in living near the ocean because tsunamis are inevitable, one should also be cautious about settling below steep hills, or even alongside rivers. Rivers flood. Steep hills slide. And rivers can also be backed up substantially by an incoming tsunami – or by rising sea levels,” quoting Michael Knight’s Newsletter.

Editor’s Note:
The issues about “sustainability” have been in the spotlight lately in Thurston County. The recent Oso, WA mudslide has proven sustainability correct as these questions now are in the mainstream:
– would you build your home in a flood plain?
– would you build your home in sensitive areas?
– would you build your home in a wetland?
– would you pour oil on the ground?

Do YOU want the taxpayer to bail you out when you do these unwise things and your family home is lost?

– “Mudslide Victim Wanted Right to Live Anywhere He Wanted”
By Mike Brunker for NBC News:
“Among those missing in the landslide that devastated a small Washington community is the leader of a group that sought to secede from Snohomish County over land-rights issues, including whether government could restrict property owners from building in risky or environmentally sensitive areas like the one buried by the slide.”

“According to a history of the Freedom County movement published by the Everett Herald, the drive to secede was sparked by concerns over state land-use legislation known as the Growth Management Act. The act, signed into law by Gov. Booth Gardner in 1990, aimed to channel growth by imposing new rules on private property development that preserved farmland and restricted building on wetlands and floodplains, among other things.”
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Posted by Steve on March 31, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

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