Oregon City braces for madness over solar eclipse
Lines half-a-block long are forming in front of the Oregon City Public Library each morning as librarians hand out 1,000 free eclipse glasses.
One-hundred pairs of eclipse glasses are being handed out at the library's opening time Wednesday through Sunday, and 500 are being handed out starting at 9 a.m. on the morning of the eclipse. Eclipse glasses were provided to Oregon City by the Space Science Institute's STAR_Net library education program after Children's Librarian Barratt Miller filled out an application confirming that she was planning educational activities for the public around the eclipse, which was a requirement for receiving the free eclipse glasses in June.
"We haven't had this much interest in any activity, ever," Miller said. "Our phones are ringing off the hook and people are flooding the building to ask about the glasses. We're so busy answering questions about eclipse glasses that it's been hard for staff to keep up with our regular work. Luckily, most people have been kind and understanding about our limited supply."
Adding to the madness, August is already a hectic time at the library, and this year has been even busier than usual, Miller said. This is last week for participants in the summer-readering program to turn in their reading logs and claim their prizes. Meanwhile, librarians are showing people how to use the new self-checkout system, and staff and technicians have been working all day, every day, this week to install a new Automated Materials Handler machine to speed up the process for checking materials back in.
During the eclipse from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Aug. 21, librarians will host a free eclipse party in the Oregon City Public Library Community Room and adjacent Carnegie Park. It's Oregon City's last "Monday Funday" family program for summer-reading program this year, so all of the activities are kid-oriented.
"We have a planet scavenger hunt and a 'put the planets in order' game for older children, and a sensory moonscape bin for younger children," Miller said. "We expect many of the children will be busy in the playground, the tot park, and the spray park as well."
Oregon City's Grable family was one of the last to get free glasses on Aug. 17. Ruby Grable, 6, said she was excited because "It's going to black out sky, and this will only happen once in a lifetime."
Ruby's mother Alicia Grable said the length of the line almost scared them away.
"We debated whether to stand in the line, but we thought we're already here," she said. "Ruby's quite the little astronomer and she loves studying the planets as well as entomology."
Closures on Monday
Clackamas Community College will be closed on Monday, Aug. 21, due to concerns about the total eclipse of the sun that will occur that morning. Severe traffic jams are expected. The college said all classes, events and campus activites are cancelled, but the YMCA child care center on the Oregon City Campus will remain open and operating.
Construction within the path of totality for the solar eclipse has been suspended for the weekend. The Portland metro area is not within the path of totality; however, most construction and non-essential maintenance activities have been limited.
Northbound Oregon Highway 99E (Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard) will close this weekend at 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday in the fourth weekend closure needed for a bridge replacement project.
This closure is necessary to allows crews to work on a project replacing the bridge over Crystal Springs with a culvert. The work this weekend is critical for the completion of the project and will happen as scheduled.
Successfully completing the project will require a fifth weekend closure of the northbound lanes, from 6 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 until 5 a.m. Monday Aug. 28. The closure will not begin before 6 a.m. Saturday or when all support vehicles for the Hood-to-Coast relay have cleared the area.