Eclipse fans arrive in Oregon by air, rail, car

Welcome to Oregon, eclipse visitors!

(L-R) Anindha Parthy, Paulette Waters and Dennis Cote all arrived at PDX for the solar eclipse, August 18, 2017 (KOIN)
(L-R) Anindha Parthy, Paulette Waters and Dennis Cote all arrived at PDX for the solar eclipse, August 18, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Planes, trains and automobiles — that’s how the million or so visitors to Oregon are arriving for Monday’s solar eclipse.

Over the next 3 days, about 1,000 flights are expected to land at PDX, and already visitors from around the country and around the world have landed to partake in all things possible.

Thousands arrived at PDX for the eclipse, August 18, 2017 (KOIN)
Thousands arrived at PDX for the eclipse, August 18, 2017 (KOIN)

Dennis Cote arrived from San Francisco with friends who plan to backpack on the Pacific Crest Trail near Mount Jefferson. He has 3 cameras, 9 pair of glasses, 3 batteries for each camera and back-up batteries for his phone.

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” Cote told KOIN 6 News. But “seeing a total solar eclipse is on my bucket list of things to see.”

Speaking of rodeos, Jeff Rowher is from Oregon’s farm and ranch country in Burns. He and his family are actually leaving the path of totality because of all the traffic that’s expected.

“There’s more California plates than there are Oregon plates in Oregon right now,” he said.

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

Paulette Waters arrived from the San Francisco Bay area. She said she’s been planning for this trip since last November and is very excited to see the eclipse.

Mia Gleason arrived for the eclipse, August 18, 2017 (KOIN)
Mia Gleason arrived for the eclipse, August 18, 2017 (KOIN)

Mia Gleason, Jordan Dickstein and Christina Mancini are among the Californians who arrived at PDX Friday. They’re all here for the eclipse, and Dickstein and Mancini are headed to the Oregon Eclipse music festival.

Sarah Dean is an incoming freshman at Willamette University. She said much of their planning for orientation has been redone.

Complete Coverage: Oregon Solar Eclipse

“We were going to go rafting and no longer going rafting because we can’t go anywhere,” she said. “We’re trapped in Salem.”

Air Canada employees at PDX, Sierra Cannon and Katelyn Weatherly, said the traffic and volume has definitely increased this week.

“It’s been madness here,” Cannon said. Weatherly, who lives in Oregon City, said, “It takes me normally 20 minutes to get here and it can take up to at least 2 hours to get here.”

Many visitors arriving in Oregon are heading to the Symbiosis Festival in Crook County, outside Prineville. Nearly 35,000 people are expected to attend the event and traffic was at a standstill Thursday as people flooded into the Big Summit Prairie.

Crook County officials said things are going smoothly on Friday. There is no more heavy traffic and the hospital is operating well. Hwy 26 heading into the event was closed most of Thursday but has reopened and will be open Friday.

For the latest traffic alerts, keep an eye on TripCheck. 

TriMet is also planning for possible delays due to eclipse traffic. Officials are telling riders to plan extra time just in case and follow TriMet alerts for details. 

The hitchhiker from Japan

A 24-year-old resident of Kyoto, Japan stood across the street from the Cleveland High School football field in Southeast Portland holding a cardboard sign that simply said, “Eclipse.”

Gen, who did not provide a last name, said he arrived in Portland 2 days ago specifically for the eclipse because “it’s fun and interesting.”

With his suitcases and gear next to him, he hoped to find a ride to Ochoco National Park for “the big festival.”

“But I don’t have a car,” he said.

Car rentals and car shares

Car rentals are practically sold out in Oregon for the eclipse weekend, but car share services are stocked with vehicles.

Car2Go has about 300 vehicles available in the Portland area as of mid-day Friday. You can rent one and drive it far from the Portland hub but you need to return it within 3 days.

Officials with Car2Go said they expect to see a bump in rentals on Saturday as people can book a car about 30 minutes in advance.

The small, 2-person cars go for $59 per day. A Mercedes hatchback is $79 per day with insurance and gas included.

Biking to the eclipse

Hundreds of bicyclists will follow dozens of planned routes and special rides available on cycling websites to get to the eclipse. In fact, cyclists have more options that drivers.

Kate Wheeler is headed to McMinnville on Sunday — about a 50-mile ride for her — where she will camp at a friend’s place. She’s prepared but her biggest concern is people suddenly pulling over and opening their car doors.

Wheeler said she think riding a bike could be faster than the auto traffic, especially after the eclipse.

One ride that’s available: Cyclists leaving Portland near the Safeway on Babur at midnight Sunday night headed toward Salem for the eclipse, which starts around 9 a.m.

KOIN 6 News reporters Brent Weisberg and Lisa Balick contributed to this report.