An orange U.S. Coast Guard helicopter at upper right is dwarfed as it flies, Monday, March 31, 2014 by the face of the massive mudslide that hit the nearby community of Oso,Wash. on March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
When Darrington was cut off after the Oso landslide and the state was desperate to provide help, a pair of business partners successfully demanded more than $80,000 to allow cars and trucks to drive along a power-line access road on their undeveloped land, The Herald of Everett reported.
The newspaper, which is a partner of KIRO 7, obtained documents about the payment through the state’s public disclosure law. Here is more from reporters Scott North and Eric Stevick:
One of the men figured that charging the state Department of Transportation was the only shot at recovering losses he expected from the March 22 mudslide. He initially demanded $180,000 just for access to the land. Most property owners along the route were paid $500.
The state ultimately cut an $85,000 check to Robert Tager of Lynnwood. His business partner, Grant Walsh of Stanwood, negotiated the deal.
“Even though none of us feel good about this parcel, we need to honor our commitment,” one transportation official wrote in a May email as the check was being prepared.