BEND, OR -- While some Central Oregonians are criticizing emergency managers and local law enforcement for warnings issued in advance of Monday’s eclipse, the Deschutes County Sheriff is pleased with how the past week has gone. "The message was, ‘look, there’s going to be a lot of people on the road; there may be a shortage of supplies.’ I think that a lot of the local businesses and grocery stores were well prepared," Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News. "We still have a large number of people in neighboring counties who may pass through this larger area because of supplies and fuel. So, it’s really not over yet."
Sheriff Nelson is unapologetic about warnings to stock up in advance. "I feel it’s our job to get that information out to the citizens we serve and the tourists that come to this area. And, I would be remiss in my duties if we didn’t put that information out. So, I think that people took that information and made it what worked for them." While supply and gas shortages didn’t materialize, big eclipse crowds in Crook and Jefferson counties did. Although, Nelson cites the lack of pre-eclipse traffic jams as evidence that preparedness efforts paid off. "From some of the initial standpoints that we’re talking about – the time it would take to travel from Bend to Madras – I don’t know that they ever saw that length of time to travel there. So, it’s about planning and it’s about getting the message out." He says initial predictions indicated it could take anywhere from eight to 14 hours to travel between Madras and Bend after the eclipse. That trip, which takes around 45 minutes on an average day, took four to six hours, Monday afternoon after the eclipse
Photo: A Washington couple tests their protective eyewear as the eclipse begins, August 21, 2017, at SolarFest in Madras.
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