Flags Lowered For One Week Statewide To Honor Landslide Victims

By Tom Banse

Flags are flying at half mast across Washington state this afternoon and will stay there until next Tuesday. The gesture honors the victims of last month's deadly landslide north of Seattle. Earlier Tuesday, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner raised the death toll from last month's slide to 37. That's an increase of one. The number of missing remains at seven.

A solitary bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" as two state patrolmen slowly lowered the state and national flags flying over the capitol plaza in Olympia. Governor Jay Inslee requested flags statewide be flown at half staff for one week in memory of the Oso landslide victims and surrounding communities.

After the flag lowering ceremony, the governor traveled back to the disaster area. Inslee said he wants to observe a community meeting to discuss reopening a severed highway - SR 530. The governor says how to do that "in a safe and respectful way" presents a challenge. He adds the state is giving this increasing focus.

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