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EDITORIAL: Eclipse advanced agencies’ ability to protect Malheur County

Malheur County was spared during the Great American Eclipse. In spots, traffic was congested but the county wasn’t overrun by people. No serious accidents blocked roads. No serious property damage, assaults or other crime could be traced to our moment in the moon’s shadow. We did gain increased comfort that our public agencies can anticipate and prepare for a huge-scale event.

For months, the forecasts in Oregon produced awe. State officials predicted 1 million people would flood into the state for the spectacle. For Malheur County, estimates hit 30,000 or more – doubling the county’s population for the eclipse weekend. Imagination took over about what that would mean. Would roads become parking lots? Would bread and milk and gas get scarce? Would city slickers burn the county down around us with careless smoking and driving?

While the rest of us could muse about the possibilities, others . . .