Compiled by Laura Swanson, editor, Tillamook County Pioneer
On Thursday August 24th, Gordon McCraw added, “I’m very proud of the citizens of Tillamook County for their patience and tolerance. They did what we asked of them, and proved that we’re ready and prepared. Thanks for listening to the preparedness information. This will come in handy for any future events. Winter’s coming ya’ know …”
Tillamook County breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday August 22nd. The “predicted” hordes didn’t materialize, and the skies cleared just in time for the eclipse on Monday. All noted – 99.5% was not “complete” darkness. “It was eery and so quiet,” noted McCraw. Over-hyped or over-prepared? No. There isn’t such a thing as being “over” prepared. It worked. People listened. They planned ahead. There were lessons learned and just maybe everyone will listen and be prepared in case of real emergencies.
Collection of Eclipse Images:
Gordon McCraw’s statement from Facebook on Tuesday 8/22/17
No, the traffic issues were not as significant, leading up to the eclipse, as expected. Why? I think there were several contributing reasons. At the top of my list was the great planning and preparation taken by the folks in Tillamook County. You listened to the preparation messages and acted on it which reduced the impact. With fewer vehicles on the road, and with the patience and tolerance displayed, no significant traffic issues were reported.
Our First Responders were ready to respond with extra staff on duty and strategically positioned. The 911 call volume was below what was expected and there were very few emergency calls which was outstanding. Yes, the northbound traffic was heavy right after the eclipse, lasting through yesterday evening, but again, no major issues resulted. I believe our visitors trickled in over the weekend which lessened the impact Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The crowd left Monday and today we are back to….normal!
Do I think we reached the levels we anticipated…no, I do not. Some reasons I suspect causing this were related to several issues combined, not one single issue. One was the concern over the weather weighed against the cost of the trip and lodging. The weather was uncertain right up to eclipse time west of the Coast Range, eventually cooperating but not until the last minute. If you are going to lay out that much money, many would want better clear sky odds. This may have caused some to change their destination or just cancel their trip. The initial coverage of the traffic issues from the central Oregon events may be another factor, it is hard to tell. It will be awhile before the numbers are in but I think everyone did the best they could to make this event a safe and memorable one for everyone.
Again, to the Tillamook County residents and First Responders, WELL DONE!