On August 21st, 2017 the nation will stop to look at the sky, when the first total solar eclipse to cross the united states in almost 100 years turns the world dark. CFM patients are lucky enough to reside in the path of totality, an area where the sun will be completely blocked by the moon. To celebrate this rare event and ensure patient and staff safety, CFM will be closed on Monday, August 21st.
The good fortune of living in the path of totality comes with a drawback: people from around the world will flock to the area to enjoy the eclipse with us. Officials estimate anywhere from 200,000 to over a million visitors will descend upon the path of totality in Oregon, overwhelming local infrastructure. Benton County anticipates as many as 400,000 visitors alone. The Great American Eclipse, as it’s come to be called, will cause The Great American Traffic Jam as everyone rushes to the totality band across the US.
Across the state first responders and community staff have been preparing for this unprecedented event. They are treating it like a natural disaster, warning residents to stock up on food and water several days before the eclipse, since traffic will be delayed or even impassable from congestion. Emergency personnel are planning to stage themselves throughout their region to shorten response times delayed by heavy traffic.
That doesn’t mean you need to bunker down like a tornado is coming, though. There are plenty of events in the area to entertain residents and visitors alike.
Solar Eclipse Corvallis is an event held over the long weekend at Crystal Lake Sports Park. There will be campsites, live entertainment, food and a beer garden. The park offers a disc golf course and new bocce ball court, and will have educational presentations about the eclipse and astronomy.
OSU will be offering an eclipse celebration named OSU150 Space Grant Festival: A Total Eclipse Experience. Like Solar Eclipse Corvallis, the event runs from the 19th through the 21st. Dorms will be opened for minimum two-night stays. There is a photography class for capturing the eclipse, followed by other activities focusing on space, science, art and astronomy throughout the weekend. A concert will be held the evening of the 20th and a viewing party at Student Legacy Park the morning of the 21st.
In Albany, Linn Benton Community College, The Heritage Mall and the Albany Municipal Airport will all be holding their own events. To find out about other local eclipse events, check out the pages at Visit Corvallis and Travel Oregon.
Some great sites to learn more about the eclipse in general are NASA’s page, that of the American Astronomical Society and GreatAmericanEclipse.com. Safety information can be found at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon.gov. If you plan to go camping or visit rural or wilderness areas, take special care to prevent embers or fires from spreading during this dry, overcrowded time. Make sure to wear eclipse glasses to prevent eye damage while looking at the sun whenever it is not completely obscured by the moon.
Have fun and be safe!