PORTLAND, Ore. -- The solar eclipse that will cut across Oregon on August 21 could be a spectacular sight. People in a 70-mile-wide swatch in the middle of the state should be able to see the moon totally block out the sun, while the rest of the Portland metropolitan area will be treated to a partial eclipse.
This stunning natural phenomenon will draw a massive crowd to Oregon and the 11 other states in the path of totality.
How big, exactly? News reports have claimed as many as one million people could come to Oregon in the days surrounding the eclipse.
That huge number likely raises a few eyebrows. Oregon only has about four million residents so adding one million extra people on a single weekend is a huge deal.
Our Verify team called up Cory Grogan at the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to ask about this “one million visitors” claim. He verified the number came from a planning scenario written by the state agency.
“We needed to a number to base a planning scenario, but that’s really not an exact number,” Grogan said.
This eclipse is an unprecedented event for the state, Grogan said. Yes, we had a solar eclipse in 1979, but the hype leading up to that eclipse paled in comparison to the excitement this year.
That makes it very difficult to predict how many people will show up here on August 21. The one million statistic was based on factors like hotel and campsite reservations, but that isn’t an exact science.
“We know there’s going to be more people in our state than just about any time in history,” Grogan said.
If you are traveling on the eclipse weekend, make sure to pack your patience and some extra supplies. State transportation officials worry there could be gridlock on highways around the state.
“It’s important for people to be prepared, plan ahead, have food and water and maybe an emergency kit in their car,” Grogan said.