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Flags Lowered Across Washington To Honor Landslide Victims

Northwest News Network Photo/Tom Banse

Flags are flying at half mast across Washington state this afternoon to honor victims of last month's deadly landslide.

A solitary bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" as two state patrolmen slowly lowered the state and national flags flying over the capitol plaza in Olympia. Governor Jay Inslee requested flags statewide be flown at half staff for one week.

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 a severed highway — SR 530.

The governor says how to do that "in a safe and respectful way" presents a challenge. He adds the state is giving this increasing focus.

As of Wednesday morning, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner raised the death toll from last month's slide to 39. The number of missing remains at seven.

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Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.