'A way to connect with our cosmos': Corvallis area welcomes crowd for solar eclipse

On August 21, 2017, part of the Willamette Valley will be in the path of totality for a solar eclipse. The rare celestial event is drawing thousands to book hotel rooms and campsites in the Corvallis area. (NASA image)

PHILOMATH, Ore. – If you plan on watching the solar eclipse in Oregon, you better find a place to stay soon. Hotel rooms are already filling for the August 21 rare celestial event. Some are raising prices because of the demand.

Oregon State University is one of the places where you can watch the total solar eclipse in Corvallis. The sun will be completely covered for just about a minute and a half, creating complete darkness.

“We’re expecting 1,000 to 2,000 people if we can max out,” said Joelle Kneez from Corvallis Parks and Recreation Staff.

At 10:16 a.m., Corvallis Parks said they will have the best view.

“The Willamette Valley in particular has the most reliable, clear weather in the entire path of the eclipse,” said Patrick Rollens, public information officer for the City of Corvallis.

Oregon Department of Emergency Management predicts the eclipse could bring 400,000 visitors to the Willamette Valley.

“We started about two months ago, really kind of getting the preparation down,” Kneez said.

Now, for the price of $200, groups of seven to eight people can camp at Willamette Park’s “Crystal Lakes Sports Field” in Corvallis for two nights.

“That's going to be really helpful for our public safety agencies to know that, you know, there's a pretty large group of people going to be at Willamette Park,” Rollens said.

Total solar eclipses are extremely rare in Oregon.

“The orbit of the moon is not in the same plane as the orbit of the sun. So the moon can go around this way, and never be between the earth and the sun,” said Davide Lazziati, associate professor of physics at Oregon State University.

Those who don’t want to pay for the view might want to make friends with someone in the area.

“There were literally waiting lists for all of the hotels anywhere near by,” said Michelle Beck, who lives in Philomath.

Beck plans on having a viewing party with her friends on her 86 acres of farm land.

“I’m just looking forward most to seeing everybody and just having fun,” Beck said.

But regardless of the location, it’s sure to be an unforgettable sight.

“Enjoy the moment and use it as a way to connect with our cosmos,” Lazziati said.

You need to take precautions to avoid eye damage when viewing the eclipse.

The next solar eclipse visible in Oregon is predicted to be over 100 years from now.

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