The March 22 landslide across SR-530 effectively cut the communities of Oso, Darrington and Swede Haven off from the rest of Snohomish County. Many people who live on one side of the now-closed SR-530 and work on the other side now face substantially increased commutes via alternative routes.
To understand the extent to which the community was affected, it is helpful to know how many people use SR-530 for work-related commutes.
The U.S. Census Bureau has a tool called OnTheMap that can be used to quantify and visualize where people live relative to where they work. In 2011, residents of Darrington, Oso and Swede Haven commuted to primary jobs in Everett (106), Seattle (76), Arlington (67), Marysville (32) and other locations. A smaller number of workers commuted in from Arlington/Arlington Heights (12), Marysville (8), Everett (6), Canyon Creek (6) and other locations. Regardless of direction, all of these commutes were potentially disrupted by the closure of SR-530.
Anneliese Vance-Sherman is Employment Security’s regional economist for Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties.