Salem residents worry about eclipse camping in parks

Camping is parks is usually against city code

A tent in a backyard (Public Domain Pictures/Peter Griffin)
A tent in a backyard (Public Domain Pictures/Peter Griffin)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Some Salem residents are nervous after the city decided to open nearly 100 public parks for camping during the solar eclipse.

People are worried about the potential crush of people and lack of facilities. The city is only staffing and policing 13 of the 93 parks that will be open.

“There are street lights a street over, but there are no streetlights here,” said Claudia Howells, who lives a block away from Bush Pasture Park, one of several parks expected to bear the brunt of the traffic.

Other popular destinations are Bryan Johnson Park, Wallace Marine Park and River Front Park and River Road Park.

Howells wishes the city would have given people a chance to weigh-in before sanctioning camping, which is usually against city code.

Neighbor Wally Reed wants to make sure vehicle traffic doesn’t cause too many issues.

“The concern is just the density of people we’re anticipating,” Reed said. “Is this going to be one huge tailgate party?”

People also hope the city is able to handle the chores.

“Our real concern is porta potties,” Reed said. “There aren’t any between here and Florida.”

Mike Gotterba, Salem public works spokesperson, said they are putting in extra bathrooms and drinking water stations, but they don’t really know what’s going to happen.

“I’m not furious,” neighbor Geronimo Tagatac said. “I’m a little, I guess you’d call it trepidation because I don’t know how many people are coming.”