Agencies kick into gear ahead of ‘unprecedented’ eclipse

Governor Brown, state agencies briefed press about eclipse preparations

Gov. Kate Brown announces eclipse preparations, August 15, 2017 (KOIN)
Gov. Kate Brown announces eclipse preparations, August 15, 2017 (KOIN)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Gov. Kate Brown and an array of state agencies briefed the press on Tuesday about state preparations ahead of next week’s solar eclipse.

The Aug. 21 event is expected to bring over one million visitors the state, causing unprecedented traffic and other issues.

Officials from Travel Oregon, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Oregon State Parks, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) were part of the media briefing.

Brown spoke and urged eclipse travelers to “plan ahead” and beware of wildfire dangers. She also reminded visitors to clean up after themselves and “leave no trace.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said at the conference that the weather pattern for Monday looks good for clear skies to view the eclipse. No major storms, excessive heat or thunderstorms are expected. A system with rain is set to move in on Tuesday and officials are monitoring to see if it will move in early.

“Eye on the Eclipse” – a KOIN 6 News special at 8 p.m. Saturday

ODOT is concerned about clouds blocking the eclipse, including the marine layer at the coast, and viewers last-minute trying to make it back to the valley in time to see it. They said it is unrealistic with traffic conditions and urge people to stay put. “Don’t do it,” one official said.

Oregon State Police plan on pulling resources from all over the state into the path of totality, even moving detectives and desk duty-types out onto the highways to help deal with traffic.

Capt. Bill Fugate said, “We’re just asking people always keep moving, please don’t stop.”

OEM director Andrew Phelps also reminded people to keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles.

Aside from traffic and weather, agencies stressed the importance of wearing proper eclipse glasses.

Close to 60 state agencies have been working together for months, preparing for the upcoming eclipse weekend.

Complete Coverage: Oregon Solar Eclipse