Eclipse tips for those staying close to home
By now we've all heard that Monday morning's eclipse is the cosmic event of the century and best viewed in the "path of totality," where the sun is completely blocked out by the moon. But the path doesn't include Portland, and transportation officials are warning of traffic gridlock for anyone trying to reach an ideal location that morning.
So what should you do if you live in Portland, don't already have a perfect reservation, or have to do something as mundane as go to work that day?
Experts say don't panic, you can still get a spectacular show here in town, with just a little planning. Portland and the immediate area will still experience close to 99 percent totality, which is going to be very spectacular. Near-darkness is likely to bring all activities to a halt, with the sky changing color and — a note to pet owners — changing animal behavior.
Certified eclipse glasses are still required to safely view it, so be sure to get them. Then, figure out where you need to be at 10:19 a.m. Monday for a good view.
Avoid any area surrounded by trees, buildings or other viewing obstacles. An open space as simple as a neighborhood park or work parking lot could work just fine.
One good bet is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, which is hosting a free eclipse-viewing party Monday morning at its plaza at 1945 S.E. Water Ave. Activities start at 8 a.m. and will include NASA TV playing all morning in the auditorium. Standard parking rates apply.
The moon's crossing will begin around 9:06 a.m. The maximum partial solar eclipse of 99.1 percent will be at 10:19 a.m., and last contact will be 11:38 a.m.
"OMSI is a great place to be, but there are many other good locations. Just be prepared in advance," says museum spokesman John Farmer.
Large gatherings are likely to occur at such open, high-elevation locations as the top of Mount Tabor, Rocky Butte and Council Crest. And some businesses with good views are hosting partial-eclipse viewing events, including Cornell Farms, a nursery and cafe at 8212 S.W. Barnes Road.
A number of restaurants with outdoor seating also may offer eclipse brunches. If you go, you might not experience totality, but you could get totaled if you're not careful.