Eclipse Mania Fizzles on the Coast, Leaving Some Businesses Disappointed

Reports of poor coastal weather leaves some cities in the line of totality emptier than expected all weekend

Oregon got a little crazy leading up to the eclipse.

Hotels canceled reservations so they could up prices, and rooms in Lincoln City were starting at $999 a pop, Oregon State Parks opened 1,000 more campsites and Lake Oswego nearly blinded its citizens. The price of renting a portable toilet skyrocketed by more than 350 percent.

But as the day neared, things got a little more complicated, say people we've talked to on the coast.

"Business was probably the slowest it has been all summer, until right after the eclipse," says Roxanne Talbot of Mo's Chowder in Lincoln City.

With prices too high for regular beachcombers, when reports of rain and fog came at the end of last week many beach-side cities didn't get the bump they'd hoped for.

It got to the point that, on August 19, two days before the eclipse, the mayor of Depoe Bay issued statement beckoning eclipse-chasers dodging the coast due to the news.

"The news is incorrect that it has rained here for the past three days," said Mayor Barbara Leff, "our restaurants, hotels, shops and gas stations have stocked up, dressed up and filled up to welcome you."

The Oregonian reported that some businesses along the coast stocked up on extra supplies, only to be greeted by empty storefronts and restaurants during the weekend.

Monday morning, the Newport News Times reported smaller crowds than on a typical August weekend in Lincoln City, Depoe Bay and Newport.

It was cloudy in some places, but that didn't stop those that did stop by the coast from enjoying the view of the total solar eclipse.

Crowds of customers can be heard chattering in the background.

"We're still busy," says owner of Tidal Rave restaurant in Depoe Bay, MaryLinne Hamlin of the eclipse weekend. "It was just kind of weird, our town put extra porta-potties by the park thinking people would camp out for the night but nobody did."

She says that some businesses, particularly hotels, didn't do themselves any favors by jacking up prices, as far as getting customers go.

"We didn't think that was very cool at all. As restaurant owners, we have high and low season. You would never think of making a food more expensive because of a solar eclipse," Hamlin says.

An hour and a half away at Bellhop in Corvallis, which was also in the path of totality, Sunday was so busy that the restaurant had to shut down for three hours to prepare for dinner according to owner Ian Hutchings.

“We decided to close for Monday, and by the looks of the town and other businesses, we left some money on the table. But we are a small operation, and by Monday we were basically out of food. We would have been in no shape to handle the crowds that have stuck around post eclipse,” Hutchings states.

While the predicted tourist influx of the eclipse may  be spotty in some places, the monstrous traffic forecasts are not.

As with anything in Oregon, there's a relevant Simpsons episode.