SEATTLE — A decade before a colossal landslide buried a Washington community, county officials considered buying up people's homes there to protect them from such a disaster.
A 2004 Snohomish County flood-management plan said the cost of buying Oso properties and removing residents from the path of a potential slide "would be significant, but would remove the risk to human life and structures."
But after weighing several options, the county instead recommended a project to shore up the base of an unstable hillside near the community about 55 miles north of Seattle, according to documents first reported by the Seattle Times.
The county eventually built a huge wall to reduce landslide and flood risks. But that wasn't enough to hold back the square mile of dirt, sand and silt that barreled down the hillside March 22, killing at least 30 people.
Some area residents and their family members say they knew nothing of the landslide dangers or home-buyout proposals.