In case you haven’t heard, or have been living in a cave somewhere: The Eclipse happens this Monday. All Oregonians have been warned to stay off the roads, fill up our gas tanks, do our shopping early, and to stay home (if possible).
My little town is lucky enough to be stationed on the Path of Totality, meaning we will see total darkness during this incredible event. That fact has drawn the attention of many people to this rural area. Some reports go as far to say that there will be more than 60,000 people venturing to my little area alone.
If you have never been to Silverton, it is a tiny little speck on the map, full of some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. We wave at strangers and enjoy a good cup of coffee each day. Our average town population is just around 10,002 according to the 2016 U.S. Census. You can do the math here, that is around 6 times our population joining us for this simply spectacular two minute and forty second event event.
Now that we have the facts and figures out of the way, I’m here to tell you that although most of us aren’t completely thrilled to be sharing our space with all of our out of town friends, we still need to coexist.
So, to all of my out of town friends and temporary residents here are a few tips to surviving this apocalypse (I mean eclipse).
Don’t be a garbage human. Just be nice. Pretty simple, right? Be respectful to the residents of the town in which you are temporarily residing. A little reminder, we actually live here and are used to a certain level of respect in our community. Yes, coffee might take a bit longer here than at Starbucks. If you don’t like it, please feel free to go home. Don’t be inconsiderate to the people around you.
This goes for gas stations too. We understand that everyone needs to go somewhere, but please be patient at the pump. We have attendants that are more than happy to assist you so you can resume your journey. Be courteous and wait your turn.
Our traffic laws still apply to you. Apparently you forgot that the big red octagon means “Stop”. We have a lot of backroads here too, please stick to the main roads unless you know your way around. Bicycles have their own lane, if you’re not a bike, stay out of it. Stopping in the middle of the road is not only illegal, but it is dangerous. If you’re lost, please pull over, let Siri recalculate, or ask a local for directions. Most of us are more willing to help you out if you just pull over and stop impeding traffic.
This includes pulling over on I5 to watch the eclipse. Despite the grand view, that is still illegal. Please stay safe and follow traffic laws. If you’re having trouble obeying traffic laws, ODOT or the PD will be more than willing to assist you.
Keep things clean. Camping sites across the Willamette Valley have been booked for months. While staying in our area, please remember: we aren’t your mom and we certainly aren’t your maid. Help us keep our community clean. Pick up your cans, and dispose of your garbage properly. You’re in Oregon, we have plenty of facilities that make all of these tasks easy. If you don’t know where the nearest recycling facility is, ask. Oregon has been putting forth a tremendous effort to increase our recycling. Cans are worth $.10 here, so make a few bucks and help out the environment.
Our land is our livelihood. Silverton is a decently rural community, with a lot of century family farms. To many, the “empty” fields may look like excellent camping spaces, but those “empty” fields pay our bills. If you can see grass, that’s likely a crop, not a camping space. While most fields have been harvested for the year, camping or high traffic can still produce significant (even irreparable) damage to the land.
Those fields belong to someone. Trespassing on private property is a criminal offense in Oregon (ORS 164.255). Not only do they cost tens of thousands of dollars to maintain, they are how we feed our families. Be courteous, ask before deciding to walk around or drive on the fields surrounding the area. Although some farmers have opened their properties to visitors, this is not always the case. Ask first, then proceed.
We’re all in this together. We’re all here to witness the majesty of the two minutes and forty seconds of the eclipse together. Be patient, be courteous, and enjoy your time in our state. Oregonians are generally pretty friendly, but don’t push your luck. For now, we welcome you to our little patch of earth, and please drive safely back home.
Stay excellent, my friends!