A decade before a colossal landslide buried a Washington community, county officials considered buying up people's homes there to protect them from such a disaster.

A 2004 Snohomish County flood-management plan said the cost of purchasing properties in Oso "would be significant, but would remove the risk to human life and structures."

But documents show that after weighing options, the county instead recommended a project to stabilize the base of a nearby unstable slope.

It eventually built a 1,300-foot-long wall to reduce landslide and flood risks. But that wasn't enough to hold back the square mile of dirt, sand and silt that barreled down the mountain March 22, killing at least 30 people.

Some area residents and their family members say they knew nothing of the landslide dangers or home-buyout proposals.

The documents were first reported by The Seattle Times.