In 2004, Snohomish County was so worried about the mudslide threat near the slope that collapsed last month that the county considered purchasing the properties to protect its citizens' safety, The Seattle Times reports.
According to documents reviewed by the paper, the costs of buying out the neighborhood “would be significant, but would remove the risk to human life and structures.”
The county instead opted for trying to stabilize the base of the slope and, after a mudslide in 2006, a wall was built to prevent a river from cutting into the base side of the hill, in an attempt to minimize the mudslide threat.
Since the horrific mudslide near the small town of Oso in Snohomish County last month, questions have been raised about the county's awareness of the threat. Thirty people were killed by the mudslide, and 15 are still missing.