Communities in the path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse are preparing for huge crowds on August 21st. Roughly half-a-million people are expected to converge on the Corvallis area for the eclipse.
City spokesman Patrick Rollens points out August is the height of fire season. He says there are a number of camping events around the city and county. Rollens says one of the goals is to encourage people to stick around after the eclipse.
“Because if everyone sort of packs up and hits the road at 11 a.m. on August 21st, we’re going to see some really serious traffic impacts.” Rollens says.
Rollens is also concerned about the possibility that it will be cloudy on the coast that morning—and eclipse-watchers will head inland to better see the celestial event. “And then you’ve got thousands of people coming over the coast range and the first town they’re going to hit is Philomath and then Corvallis." Rollens says, "So, that might be where they pull off on the side of the road to look up during the eclipse.”
Corvallis has experience managing traffic because of Oregon State University Football games but Rollens says the eclipse will put their infrastructure to the test.