The communities around Madras, Oregon will experience a once-in-a-century event, with over 350K people descending upon them. The area of Madras and Salem is very near Interstate-5, which will bring eclipse-watchers from the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver BC. It may be reasonable to assume that they will not be totally prepared for such a massive Woodstock-like crowd.
But, according to published interviews (from links posted above by Glenn Graham and others), the local planners are confident they have it all covered.
They also believe they can keep people from pulling off to the side of the road to see the eclipse. But, with so many vehicles funneling into the area, there will be traffic gridlock. People will be sitting in their vehicles on the morning of the eclipse --especially around the time of totality-- and they will certainly pull off to the shoulder or stop to view it.
The Madras Pioneer reports:
In anticipation of the traffic explosion, the Oregon Department of Transportation has spent the past six months planning how to deal with it, and the agency will refine that plan in the next month.
"The most noteworthy thing is we are going to keep the highways open and clear," said Peter Murphy, public information officer for ODOT Region 4. "We are not going to allow people to be doing anything that allows for dangerous activity on the highway. That means going off on the shoulder and staring at the sun. That is something that will not be allowed."
To prevent people from stopping their cars along the local highways, Murphy said that ODOT will mount an education campaign to continually remind people that such behavior is unsafe and won't be tolerated.
"There will be private activities taking place," he said. "There will be ample opportunity for people to do something other than stop on the highway and look at the activity."
KBND Radio reports:
Mayor George Endicott says the city needs to be ready for a lot of people. "The low number we’re hearing now, is 60,000 hitting Central Oregon; the high number is half a million, depending on who you’re believing, and somewhere in between. The epicenter is actually Madras, and they’re expecting maybe ten times the population of the city. So, all of our police departments are coordinating trying to come up with a comprehensive approach: Traffic, where are people going to camp, park? It could end up being pretty chaotic." He acknowledges many of those visitors will fly in, whether they're staying in Redmond or heading to Madras. "We’re working right now, trying to get FEMA to come in and do an assessment of our airport to see if that also has an impact. We could have people flying in from all over the world."
The Bend Bulletin reports:
As the epicenter of eclipse viewing, Madras officials have thought through every angle of crowd management, including toilets, said Lysa Vattimo, eclipse plan facilitator for the city. Madras reserved 125 portable toilets, to be serviced daily, and hand-washing stations, all of which will be scattered around town, she said. Those facilities will be in addition to toilets provided at large events like Oregon SolarFest and at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, she said. “I think we’re sittin’ pretty.”
Edited by Exo, 09 May 2017 - 02:56 PM.