Don’t try to run your errands in Salem during eclipse

Salem expects upwards of 125,000 visitors

The moon is obscuring part of the sun during a solar eclipse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Officials in Salem are reminding visitors and residents to plan ahead for the solar eclipse as a million people are expected to travel to Oregon for the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Salem is the first larger city to be in the path of totality come August 21 and they’re expecting between 50,000 -125,000 visitors. However, if you take into count the visitors in Polk and Marion County perimeters that number jumps to between 250,000-500,000 people.

Knowing how many people could potentially visit the area, Ed Flick, the Marion County emergency manager has been planning strategically.

“Having good, solid plans to do the best we can to open critical routes has really been the core of our plan,” Flick said. We’ve been working now for a number of months to identify all the places that people may gather in order to ensure the best availability of emergency services to those places.”

Multiple agencies, including the fire and police departments, met Monday morning for a news conference. They urged people to plan ahead, plan to stay put or at least be ready to deal with the extreme congestion.

Mike Gotterba with the Salem office of emergency Preparedness said, “all of our police, fire, public works, and EMS resources are being dispersed throughout the city; its part of our plan so that well be able to respond to something.”

However, the increase of people won’t be just the day of the eclipse. Cities expect a large number of visitors days before and after the solar eclipse.

Carl DeCarlo with the Salem Fire Department said, “If you’re a citizen, run errands a week before or really days of that week ahead of time, and if you’re traveling to Salem, make sure that you’re aware that you bring your prescriptions with you. Come prepared.”

Fire Chief Mike Niblock assured Salem residents, visitors and local business owners that public safety is the city’s first priority in planning for the upcoming eclipse.

“We’ve been getting ready for a while,” Niblock said. “We have been proactive in our readiness efforts, are working collaboratively with out public safety partners and have plans in place to address potential concerns.”

For those who plan to stay in or visit Salem for the eclipse, the city worked with regional partners to create a website as a way to share important information and answer questions regarding the event.

The links below will help people traveling to Salem stay updated with the latest eclipse information.