More traffic and people in coastal towns as eclipse approaches

Lincoln City still hoping for eclipse influx

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. – Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to crowd the Oregon Coast for Monday’s total solar eclipse.

Throughout the weekend people living in Lincoln City say it's been weirdly slow. But on Sunday, less than 24 hours before the big event, it looked like traffic started picking up and more people were walking around downtown.

People visiting from out of town say they're ready for the eclipse.

"Hoping there's no clouds and we get some sun so we can see it," said Joanne Mackie from Camas as she wore her eclipse-themed sweatshirt.

On Sunday evening, people celebrated the eclipse by throwing parties. 

A family reunion/eclipse party was underway at Rusty Truck Brewing in Lincoln City. The organizer, Gail LeVine said she'd been planning the event for years. She said three and a half years ago, she bought a condo specifically so she and her 30 or so family members could enjoy each other's company as well as the eclipse.

"Once I discovered that Lincoln city was going to be total, and the first place the eclipse hit in the mainland U.S. I knew I wanted to be there," said LeVine.

The Rusty Truck Brewery also threw an official eclipse party starting at 8pm. Another establishment, the Chinook Winds Casino Resort also threw parties over the weekend leading up to eclipse day.

Other people hosted eclipse parties at home. Madeleine Lucas said it's such a big event, they had to celebrate it.

"We have eclipse wine. We have eclipse cupcakes, eclipse brownies, anything that we could think of," she said.

But people still can't get over how eerily quiet it's been around town.

Headed to Lincoln City? Wondering how bad the crowds are? Don't worry. At least for now, it's quiet. Really quiet. I took a short walk and there are a number of vacancy signs up at hotels. After making a few calls, hotel managers tell me they still have availability. There are some rooms available through the weekend. One of the hotels I called said last night they were at 50% capacity. #OReclipse2017 #OReclipse #Eclipse2017

Posted by Christine Pitawanich/KGW on Saturday, August 19, 2017

"It's really quiet here in Lincoln City. A lot of the local conversation has been about how it feels like a ghost town," said Heather Hatton, the Public Relations Manager for Chinook Winds Casino Resort.

She said having so few people this time of year is really bizarre. The calm so far was not what locals expected this eclipse weekend. 

Click here to see exact time eclipse will be in your area

A number of hotels in the area still have availability. As of Saturday the Chinook Winds Casino Resort had about 60 rooms available for Sunday, and prices were in the $200 range. 

Smaller hotels had vacancies too. At the Coho Oceanfront Lodge, rooms were still available for about $300 per night.


Diana Steinman, at The Coho Oceanfront Lodge said she's staffed up and ready for the big event.

"The whole town is just waiting for more tourists," she said.

KGW reporter notebook: Total solar eclipse

Down the road a ways, Mo's Restaurant in Lincoln City was unexpectedly slow.

"We were expecting a huge crowd, lines out the doors and it's not happening," said Frank Stutzman, Mo's General Manager.

A number of tables sat empty on Saturday, and Stutzman said he had added extra staff. Some workers were sent home because business was slow. He hoped more people would show up to sample what Mo's is best known for, its clam chowder.

Your pics: Getting ready for the eclipse

Further down Highway 101 in Depoe Bay, Mayor Barbara Leff said it's been slow in her town too. She issued an "urgent message to eclipse lovers" on Saturday. She wants people to come to Depoe Bay so they don't miss out on the big show.

"We also don't want our business community to miss the opportunity that they've been preparing for for over a year," said Leff.

She also said, "Depoe Bay and our neighboring towns to the north and south beckon: The sun is shining. The whales are frolicking. The forecast for for the next two mornings is clear."

You can watch our eclipse coverage beginning at 4:30 a.m. on Monday.

Many local residents prepared to hunker down days ahead of the eclipse, stocking up on groceries and emergency supplies, before the expected influx of visitors arrived.

Watch: Coast residents prepare for eclipse crowds

NASA is preparing to track the eclipse over Lincoln City. Their cameras will capture the first images of the eclipse over the United States and send them to the team’s semi-trailer control room, which will relay them to NASA TV and the world.

More eclipse coverage:

Total solar eclipse in Salem

KGW reporter notebook: Total solar eclipse

Eclipse traffic

How to know your eclipse glasses are safe

 

© 2017 KGW-TV


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