In response to the landslide that took the lives of 43 people on March 22, Gov. Jay Inslee and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick today announced a joint commission to review the incident and the collective response, and to provide recommendations to help plan and respond to similar events.
“Today we begin a new effort to understand the SR 530 landslide,” Inslee said. “Through this effort, we will act on what we learn and support the healing process of this community."
“One of government’s preeminent roles is to promote public safety. The commission will focus its work on identifying the most important recommendations that, if implemented today, would make all of us safer tomorrow,” Lovick said.
The SR 530 Landslide Commission will review the incident and establish a timeline of events to better understand the collective response and guide policymakers.
The commission is also charged with reviewing the emergency response to the slide. That may include the initial emergency search and rescue and recovery of victims, community efforts, and coordination among local, county, state, tribal and federal governments.
The commission will look to identify information gaps, lessons learned and technical needs. It may also propose changes to policy or operational procedures that would improve planning and response for similar events.
The commission will operate independently, and it will not determine liability, cause or fault, or act as a substitute for the courts in any way.
In order to preserve the commission’s independence, those who were directly involved in the landslide response and recovery efforts were not eligible to serve on the commission. The governor and executive, however, are encouraging the commission to engage the local community in meaningful ways throughout its work, particularly as it rolls out its list of recommendations, which is due by December 15, 2014.
Regional business leader Kathy Lombardo will serve as the Executive Director, and The Ruckelshaus Center will facilitate the group. Lombardo, who has worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CH2M Hill, will guide the work of the 12-person commission.
“The governor and I have jointly appointed twelve commissioners who each bring relevant subject matter expertise, technical skills and professional and life experience," said Lovick.
Commission members are:
- Prof. David Montgomery, Geomorphology Director at the University of Washington
- Wendy Gerstel, Licensed Hydrogeologist and Principal at QWG Applied Geology
- Bill Trimm, FAICP, Community Development Director at the City of Mill Creek
- Diane Sugimura, Director, Department of Planning and Development at the City of Seattle
- Chief Greg Garcia, former Fire Chief at the City of Pasco
- Chief Steve Strachan, City of Bremerton Police Chief and former King County Sheriff
- Lee Shipman, Emergency Management Director at Shoalwater Bay Tribe
- Hon. Jill Boudreau, City of Mount Vernon Mayor
- Renee Radcliff Sinclair, former State Representative and former Snohomish County Planning Commissioner
- Paul Chiles, Real Estate Counselor and former Chair, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
- JoAnn Boggs, President, Washington State Emergency Management Association
- John Erickson, former Director of Emergency Preparedness, Washington state Department of Health.