EVERETT, Wash. -- Snohomish County officials announced Monday that it is ending active search operations at the site of the Oso landslide. Two people remain missing.
Work continues to remove debris from the March 22 landslide and to clear Highway 530. Spotters will work along heavy equipment operators.
So far, 41 victims have been recovered. The two who remain missing are 53-year-old Steven Hadaway who had been installing a satellite TV dish at a home, and 44-year-old Kris Regelbrugge, whose husband's body already has been recovered.
“This has been a difficult decision because I know that Kris and Steve’s families are looking for closure,” said Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary.
Trenary emphasized that the search for victims will not end, but it will be on a smaller scale and based on evidence and the weather, which has not been cooperative.
Snohomish County Executive John Lovick said a long-term recovery team has been formed with a focus on economics, housing and social services, community planning and environmental issues and the health of responders. A long-term recovery office is being opened in Darrington to assist residents.
Lovick said the county and state will form a joint commission to provide an independent review what happened before and after the slide.
Snohomish County Executive Director Gary Haakenson said the top priority moving forward is to work with the Washington State Department of Transportation to get State Route 530 back open. Transportation officials say it could take up to three months to clear debris from the mile-long stretch of highway buried in the disaster.
A pilot channel has been opened to encourage the Stillaguamish River to flow close to where it used to flow, said Snohomish County Public Works Director Steve Thomsen.