Signs of gratitude and hope transform Arlington



Posted on March 30, 2014 at 8:30 AM

ARLINGTON, Wash. -- Arlington is a small town. It has a small main street with small store fronts. One of them, Blue Bird Café, has been there since the 1940s.

Recently, it’s window changed.

A large yellow ribbon is painted on it with the words, “Hold on to Hope Darrington – Arlington –Oso.”

“It’s a terrible situation that’s happened,” said chef Joseph Donegan.

The landslide that devastated the community one week ago has transformed their tiny city center.

Stores, restaurants, even nail salons are dotted with signs of encouragement, gratitude, and hope.

“Just supporting the people that we lost,” Donegan said. “They really appreciate it. Some of them really do.”

On Saturday, search crews dropped the number of missing from 90 to 30.

“It’s getting better than it was,” Donegan said.

Though the lingering shock of the area’s worst disaster still hangs heavy, there is some relief in 60 people now accounted for and safe.

“It’s a small community and we all grew up here,” Lisa Hoffman said. “We all know each other.”

Hoffman and her friends added the newest signs to downtown Arlington. They handed out fliers for a bake sale that will benefit families affected by the Oso slide.

“I would be devastated if my entire family was taken," Hoffman said.

There is a highway sign informing drivers about the State Route 530 closure as they enter Arlington. Up since the beginning, it’s now just one of many signs in the small town filled with big hearts.

“It’s not just us doing this, it’s the whole town getting connected, doing it together,” Donegan said.