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Flags Lowered Statewide For One Week To Honor Landslide Victims

Tom Banse
Flags fly at half mast in front of Washington state Capitol.

Flags will fly at half-mast across Washington state until next Tuesday to honor the victims of last month's deadly landslide. Earlier Tuesday, the Snohomish County medical examiner raised the death toll by one to 37. Seven others remain missing.

A solitary bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" as two state troopers slowly lowered the state and national flags flying over the Capitol Plaza in Olympia. Gov. Jay Inslee requested flags statewide be flown at half-staff for one week in memory of the Oso landslide victims and surrounding communities. 

After the flag lowering ceremony, the governor traveled back to the disaster area. Inslee said he wants to observe a community meeting to discuss reopening the severed State Route 530. Finding a way to do that "in a safe and respectful way" presents a challenge, says the governor, and the state is giving the issue increasing focus.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.