Saturday, July 13th, 2024

Saving Memories in Oso, Washington


Operation Photo Rescue (OPR) is on the ground helping to save photos buried under the mud.

Ongoing Search and Rescue Operation, Ryan Ike/FEMA

Shortly after the devastating mudslide in Oso, Washington, OPR was contacted to see if we could offer help to the families. Unlike other disasters where OPR comes in after the first responders and sets a plan in motion for a copy run, we were lucky to have three local OPR volunteers that were part of a select group allowed in to help clean the photos.

Mud caked photos were brought in by sack loads and were tagged by the location found and often there was information as to the family they belong to. The sad part for the volunteers was seeing a family’s precious memories on display and recognizing that the person or child in the photo perished and the photo is all that remains.

To give you a better idea the scope of this disaster, check out News Channel KGW report.

OPR hopes to have a plan in place for a copy run in late June. Until then we will offer help as needed and respect the family’s need for privacy and not intrude until the time is right.

Keep checking our homepage/blog and Facebook for what is happening. Later will be posting how the photos were cleaned and processed.

Photo Credits: Debby Floyd and Ryan Ike



5 Responses to “Saving Memories in Oso, Washington”
  1. Wish I knew more about restoring photos. Do you offer training to those of us who are photo restorers? I know there is a lot for me to learn and love restoring pictures. While working and before retirement, word got around that I restored photos. Folks started bringing me three Picts and that is how I got started. Would love to know more.

  2. Margie says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    You can get a lot of helpful tips on our website by going to the “Forum” section. The Forum lets volunteers ask questions and get help on their photo from the OPR Galleries. Other than that we do not offer training. A lot of us picked up our training from Katrin Eismann’s book: Photoshop Restoration & Retouching. The nice part is that you can download the exercise photos to work along with the book. There is also and many different websites where you can pick up useful information. Once you feel you are up to speed, fill out the volunteer tab and fill out the form. Good luck and hope to see you as a volunteer in the future.


  3. German says:

    I’ve been reading up on all the devastation and all the memories that were wiped out on the disaster. I restore photos as a hobby and do Photomanipulation in Photoshop. I would like to offer my talents if needed for any restoration. I live in NJ and have restored many photos in the past. I can give you some restorations I’ve done to show you my work (with Privacy in mind), I work with Photoshop CC and Lightroom.. Please email me if interested, I could use the experience and would love to help with those memories that I can restore back to someone heart….

  4. Margie says:

    We would love to have you volunteer. Please go to this page on our website to volunteer: Right now we do not have any photos to restore until we come back from out copy run to Metairie, LA on Aug. 28-29, and the following weekend to Houston, TX Sept 4-5. Thanks.

  5. Margie says:

    Charlotte, we don’t offer training although our website has a wealth of knowledge on the OPR Forum side. I would recommend books like Katrin Eismann/Wanyne Palmer’s book on Adobe Photoshop Restoring and Retouching–you will have exercises to download to work along with the book. There are also lots of other tutorials online. When you are ready, go to our volunteer section and sign up: To see if you can handle the types of photos we get, you will have a test photo to restore. Thanks for your interest.