Oso prepares for a visit from Pres. Obama

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by ROB PIERCY / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 21 at 7:36 PM

President Obama will visit Oso on Tuesday as the community marks a month since the devastating landslide.

Air Force One is scheduled to land at Everett's Paine Field around 12:30 p.m. From there, the president will either fly or motorcade to the landslide zone.

"But he's not just going to see a mudslide. He's going to see mountains of volunteerism and mountains of compassion and I think he'll get a good flavor of that talking to the citizens of the Stillaguamish Valley," Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday.

The President plans to meet with families of landslide victims, as well as first responders.

Outside the Oso Community Chapel On Monday, volunteers raced against time.

Since the day the slide hit, people like Damon Binder have been helping out in whatever way they can. On monday that meant some finishing touches before President Obama arrives.

"Now he can see the progress that we're making... he can actually see what this community does,” said Binder

The President will have a private meeting inside the chapel with families who lost loved ones in the slide.
  
Even in rural Snohomish County - a place known for more conservative politics - partisanship has been put on hold.

"It's a fairly conservative place, you're right, but he's our president nonetheless... he's the President of everybody," said Gail Blacker.

Blacker knows people who lost their lives and homes in the slide. And while some on social media have been critical of the president not visiting sooner, Blacker says now is the right time.

"If he'd come sooner... it probably would have gotten in the way of the recovery and stuff,” she said.

When the Oso chapel was built, Woodrow Wilson was president. Then, and even up until the slide hit, no one would have imagined a president walking through the front door.

"I don't think there's anybody here who doesn't recognize that... and isn't a little bit excited that he's coming," said Blacker.

Forty-one bodies have been recovered from the landslide along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. As of Monday evening there were two people still missing.
  
Obama is making the brief stop in Washington as he heads to Asia for an eight-day trip to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

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