Eve of the Solar Eclipse: Global visitors in Oregon

The solar eclipse will happen August 21, 2017

Visitors to Madras for the eclipse add pins to a map showing where they came from, August 20, 2017 (KOIN)
Visitors to Madras for the eclipse add pins to a map showing where they came from, August 20, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On the eve of the solar eclipse, officials in spots along the path of totality remained surprised about how light the traffic was in the beginning of the weekend.

However, traffic started to pick up Sunday afternoon.


Lincoln City 

In Lincoln City, officials said the traffic slowly began to increase Sunday. As of noon, ODOT said there were no delays traveling to and around Lincoln City.

But, officials said they expect traffic to pick up in the afternoon and early Monday morning.

TripCheck: real time updates

KOIN 6 News found more of a crowd in Depoe Bay, however, businesses were disappointed with the little amount of people.

“Friday and Saturday were a little bit more mellow than usual for an August weekend,” Travis Stetzel with Depoe Bay Winery said.

The lack of people could be due to the unpredictable weather around the coast. Even more hotel rooms opened up in the area.

At Chinook Winds, they had 50 rooms available Sunday compared to the 30 Saturday.

A “very high tide” is expected Sunday night — more than 7-feet Sunday afternoon and more than 9-feet just after midnight Monday morning. Tide information available through NOAA.


Tons of people headed to McMinnville Sunday, many of whom are in town to join thousands of people at Linfield College Monday morning to view the solar eclipse.

Scott Nelson, the communications media director at the school, said they’re building the day around science and education.

Nelson said they have plans to hand out 1,500 eclipse glasses, but urge people to bring their own if they have them.

Professor Michael Crosser, who teaches at Linfield College, will be out teaching spectators about the science behind the eclipse.

Temperatures will cool down and winds will become up as the eclipse begins, according to Crosser.

Crosser also reminded people to keep their glasses on, no matter how dark it may get during the eclipse.

Another piece of advice?

“Unless you really know how to use your camera really well, you’re not going to get the picture you think you’re going to, instead just etch it into your brain and remember this moment,” Crosser said.

People from San Diego to Seattle traveled to McMinnville simply for the eclipse and explored the town before the event.

While the traffic may be a pain for some, businesses are happy with all of the out-of-towners visiting their restaurants and shops.


At a Sunday morning press briefing in Salem, Lt. Dave Okada of the Salem Police Department said that so far it’s been a typical weekend. Mayor Chuck Bennett said the streets and parks are not clogged — at this time.

More than 8,500 are expected to attend the OMSI solar eclipse viewing event, which starts at 6 a.m. Monday morning. (KOIN)

Salem will be the first big town to view the eclipse. OMSI plans to host a viewing party at the Oregon State Fairgrounds from 6 a.m. to noon.

More than 8,500 guests are expected to attend.

The public outreach coordinator for the Oregon State Capitol said 1000 free eclipse glasses will be distributed on Sunday and Monday to people near the state capitol — while supplies last.As of Saturday night, there were 421 campers in parks, 110 campers at Wallace Marine Park and another 75 campers at Riverfront Park, they said.


But in Madras, KOIN 6 News crews said Sunday it’s already getting much busier. Starting in the afternoon, there was a 3-hour backup on Highway 26 leading up to Madras and roads leading to the event were backed up as well.

The town of Madras is normally home to 6,000 people, but 200,000 people, from all over the world, are expected for the eclipse.

Norbert, from Germany, will have seen 6 solar eclipses after tomorrow while Jeff Doyle, from Victoria B.C., will see his first one tomorrow morning. Tarina traveled nearly 4,000 miles from Denmark to get to Madras.

“For the normal person, if you don’t want to travel, it might be the only one you see in your lifetime,” Doyle said.

Some people traveled more than 20 hours for an event that will last just minutes.

So why travel so far this eclipse?

People have taken multiple forms of transportation including cars and planes to get to Madras for the eclipse, Aug. 20, 2017. (KOIN)

Madras has the best chance for clear skies than any other spot in the path of totality across the country.

Norbert also had some advice for eclipse viewers.

“Really enjoy [it], nothing to do with cameras or telescopes, just enjoy,” Norbert said.

KOIN 6 News has crews stationed throughout Oregon in and near the path of totality. Stay with KOIN 6 News for your complete coverage.

Complete KOIN coverage for the Oregon Solar Eclipse