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Logging and the Washington Landslide

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If the Washington landslide was on the east coast rather than a remote Washington logging town, it would have run the Malaysian Air flight off the front pages. But instead it’s only west coasters so it gets relegated to a fairly minor part of the news. In any case, my first thought when the hill destroyed a big part of Oso was that it was logging related. There are a lot of small towns in the Northwest located in places where sizable settlements probably should not be, either because of constant flooding (Mapleton, Oregon is my prime example of this) or because logging has made the ecosystem unstable. There’s a high likelihood, although we don’t know yet and may never know, that a century of logging the hillside above Oso made the soil unstable and led to the collapse. It’s not the first collapse and it’s not like a fully forested hillside collapses very often. We may never actually know whether logging contributed to it or what precisely caused the collapse. But there is a very high probability that logging is at the root.

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