A once in a lifetime event will begin at 10:15 AM PDT on August 21, 2017. That event is a total solar eclipse that will follow a 62-mile wide path across the earth — something that won’t happen again in Oregon until 2108. The two minutes of mid-morning darkness will be breathtaking for anyone in the eclipse’s path. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) designated Madras, OR as the prime viewing spot.
The path will begin in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii and first make landfall on the Oregon Coast, just north of Depoe Bay, at 10:15 AM. From there, the moon’s shadow will race east toward Salem. Continuing east, the shadow of the moon will pass over Madras, Mitchell, John Day and Baker. Due to the rapid movement of the moon around the earth, the moon’s shadow will traverse the entire state of Oregon in only 12 minutes.
Halfway through the event, anyone within a roughly 62-mile wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, turning day into night and making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona. The southern boundary of the eclipse’s path through Oregon is just south of Sisters and Redmond where the total solar eclipse will last from 20 to 50 seconds. It will peak in Madras at 2 minutes and 4 seconds and then diminish to 20 seconds at the northern boundary near Maupin.
The impact on Central Oregon, although unknown with certainty until after the solar eclipse, has been estimated to be dramatic. Local airports no longer have ramp space available in Bend, Redmond, and Madras. Rental prices for viewing spots and housing in the peak viewing areas have gone for thousands of dollars per day with multi-day minimums. There will also be a strain on roads, banks, ATMs, grocery stores, service stations, restaurants, hospitals, police and fire departments, and all emergency services.
The building industry will come to a standstill. Beginning the Friday before the solar eclipse, deliveries of material will cease and not begin again until traffic conditions permit. Inspections will halt, and workers will be unable to get to job sites. The interest cost alone of this standstill will stretch into the millions. But it is a once in a lifetime event, so the best we in the building industry can do is don our solar eclipse glasses, pour our favorite beverage, and sit back and enjoy the spectacle.