REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors discussed, this week, how to best prepare for a massive influx of visitors in August, for the solar eclipse. Redmond is inside the path of totality and home to the airport closest to what’s considered the prime viewing spot.
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."
Endicott recommends that all Central Oregonians get prepared prior to August 21st. "Just hunker down. We’re advising people to shop the week before. Because this is a Monday, Saturday and Sunday are going to be a lot of fun. So, fill your car with gas on Thursday, shop on Thursday – get your milk, bread, eggs – and just get ready til the following week when everybody clears out on Tuesday."
He looks at eclipse preparations as an opportunity to plan for future unexpected events. "It could be very similar to a dress rehearsal, in case that Cascadia [quake] happens when you have no time to plan. It could be that this is a study that is sitting on a shelf, Cascadia happens and we immediately blow the dust off and we have a plan, because we’ve already been through it for an inundation of a lot of people at once."
Learn more about the August 21 total solar eclipse at NationalEclipse.com or visit NASA's eclipse website. Listen to our full conversation with Redmond Mayor George Endicott at our Podcast Page or click HERE.