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One year later: Relive The Great American Eclipse in Oregon

It was one of the most hyped events in Oregon history. And for a brief moment, millions of Oregonians were stunned when daylight went dark.

PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s been a year since one of the most hyped events in Oregon history: The Great American Eclipse.

The event not only stunned millions of Oregonians across the state, it drew the admiration of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who traveled to the Beaver State to be part of the totality experience.

Remember, this was no normal eclipse. It was the first total solar eclipse visible in Oregon in 38 years. It was also the first total solar eclipse to pass over the United States, from Pacific to Atlantic coasts, in 99 years. And for those who wanted to see it first in the continental US, Oregon was the place to be.

Archive 1979: Total solar eclipse over Portland

Since there won’t be another total solar eclipse viewable in Oregon during our lifetime, let’s look back at the mesmerizing spectacle that captivated the state on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

Relive the eclipse

The eclipse, from start to finish, lasted about two and a half hours.

KGW had crews across the state, from Lincoln City to Salem to Terrebonne, to show how people from different communities were taking in nature's show.

Relive the experience by watching an hour of our live coverage, including the moment of totality.

Moment of totality

While the partial eclipse lasted more than two hours, totality lasted between 30 seconds and a little over two minutes, depending on where you were in Oregon.

Here’s what those spectacular two minutes looked like from Silverton:

Sky 8 was overhead as the eclipse cast a shadow of darkness over the state Capitol in Salem:

A timelapse from the Salem Fairgrounds shows the brief moment the sky went dark.

Eclipse from the sky

KGW’s Maggie Vespa was aboard a special charter flight that gave eclipse-chasers a unique perspective from the sky.


Of course, the eclipse gave photographers an opportunity to get the perfect once-in-a-lifetime shot, including this picture by Salem photographer Andrew Studer.

To the ends of the earth.... thanks to @thistommysmith @tedhesser and @martinatib for the preproduction on this shot and climbing expertise! This is a single photo, no photoshop.

A post shared by Andrew Studer (@andrew.studer) on

View more photos in our gallery:

And of course, who could forget the eclipse glasses?

Eclipse exodus

While traffic was a major concern, there wasn’t the mass entrance into Oregon that government officials expected. But it was quite the opposite as the eclipse faded away.

In the minutes following totality, traffic quickly backed up on Highway 101 along the coast, Interstate 5 in the Willamette Valley, and Highway 97 in Central Oregon.

Some people even missed their flights at Portland International Airport on the night of the eclipse due to the backups. Drivers reported to KGW that it took them 5-6 hours to make the usual one-hour commute from Salem to Portland.

Credit: ODOT
Recorded traffic speeds between Woodburn and Wilsonville on NB I-5 the day of the eclipse (Aug. 21) versus a regular day.

And it wasn’t just cars sitting idle. At the Madras Airport, Sky 8 video showed a line of planes waiting to leave the area just hours after the eclipse.

Lifelong memories

In the end, it was a day millions of Oregonians will never forget. That includes Tom Frisch, who was taken to the hospital after being hit by a car while he was riding his bike the morning of Aug. 21, 2017. Once Frisch was stabilized, hospital staff wheeled him outside so he could see the eclipse. Doctors and nurses even sang Bonnie Tyler’s hit Total Eclipse of the Heart.

When's the next total solar eclipse in Oregon?

June 25, 2169. None of us will be alive to see it. But the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes baseball team left behind sentimental memorabilia for the next generation of eclipse-crazed Oregonians.