Oregon shows resiliency during, after solar eclipse

Overall, Monday’s solar eclipse lived up to the wonderful hype and not much of the fears. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flocked to Oregon to join millions of residents and bask in the glow of a beautiful August day. Many, including myself, stared up in awe, smiling from the memorable experience.

Our photographer Dave Palmer captured stunning photos of the celestial event from his vantage point in Salem at the L.B. Day Amphitheater at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) hosted the sold-out event at the amphitheater, which holds more than 8,000 people. (View his slideshow @oeconline – Instagram.)

Feel like giving back to Mother Nature? SOLVE Oregon has several post-eclipse cleanup events scheduled this week. A few cleanup events began Tuesday, but many volunteer opportunities will take place Saturday, Aug. 26. Most of the cleanups are along the coast with another taking place in the Columbia River Gorge.

It sounds like most eclipse-goers threw away their large trash, but there’s plenty of small items to pickup before trash reaches wildlife. Visit SOLVE’s website for locations, contact and signup information.

For months, state leaders and agencies have worked to prepare what they estimated to be 1 million visitors. Indeed, the eclipse has provided an opportunity to show how resilient our state can be, and thankfully the worst-case situations never panned out. State agencies and private groups now begin the environmental cleanup.

Post-eclipse traffic on Monday, as expected, delayed many commuters for hours but no serious crashes or fuel shortages were reported.

A spokesman with the Oregon Department of Transportation told the Bend Bulletin they didn’t estimate how many cars actually hit the road, but the congestion was less than anticipated. By 8 p.m. however, other people told The Oregonian/OregonLive they sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic near Madras, just north Bend not far from the Symbiosis Gathering festival, which drew about 28,000 cars and around 70,000 people, officials told the paper.

In the day leading up to the event, officials in Bend had also asked residents and business to conserve their water in the days leading up to the eclipse just in case the demand for H20 exceeded capacity, according to the Bend Bulletin. Thankfully, no media reports of water shortages have surfaced.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported utility companies in the state planned for the loss of solar power as the moon’s shadow crossed the state. Oregon maintains a capacity to generate 104 megawatts of power, which is not much compared to other areas, according to OPB. The U.S. Department of Energy reports the path of totality impacted 17 utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plants in Oregon out of 1,900 along the nationwide path of totality.

State officials have said in the days leading up to the event they were prepared for the worst, and thankfully Mother Nature provide optimal viewing conditions for her the celestial dance in the sky.

We like to think it’s also a good reminder that taking a resilient approach year-round is important, especially as Oregon grows. Creating policies and plans for clean and plentiful water and improving access to renewable resources is part of the work we strive for every day here at OEC. Be sure you’re plugged in to our work to protect Oregon’s land, air and water by signing up for our Grassroots Action and Information Network and becoming a member.

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