Here's a question for you. How many
times in your life have you had a "once-ina-
lifetime" experience? Maybe you rafted
the Grand Canyon, or swam with the sharks,
or climbed to the top of a mountain, or flew
with the Blue Angels, or met the Pope, or saw
the Mona Lisa. All very interesting and compelling
experiences, some more accessible
than others but all really cool!
Well come Monday, August the 21st, literally
millions of us in the continental United
States will have a chance to witness not only
our own "once-in-a-lifetime" experience but
also arguably the most spectacular event any
of us will ever see. In all likelihood, it will
leave you awestruck!
The event? The total solar eclipse of 2017
(Figure 1). They're calling it the "Great
American Solar Eclipse" because the ONLY
country that is touched by it IS America
In fact it's America's first, coast-to-coast,
total solar eclipse since 1918. Anybody remember
the last time at least PART of the
US received a total solar eclipse? I do. Yup,
38 years ago, February 26th, 1979. But that
eclipse only crossed part of the Northwest
(WA, OR, ID, MT, ND) before heading into
Canada. And, since it occurred in February,
the weather was not all that cooperative.
Skies were cloudy in Portland, and Salem,
and Goldendale, Washington where all the
network TV reporters had gathered...but not
where I was!
I was at Stonehenge! Not the real one (in
England) mind you, but the Stonehenge
Memorial in Maryhill, Washington. The
full-scale replica on a bluff overlooking the
Columbia River and it was truly spectacular!
I was a young, newly-minted weatherman/
reporter for KEZI-TV in Eugene. The station
had sent me and photographer Rick Cullis to
Goldendale to cover the eclipse (since it was
not total in Eugene). Well Rick and I gambled
that the weather in Goldendale that Monday
morning was not going to be clear...and the
gamble paid off. Goldendale (with it's own
local observatory and gaggle of network TV
reporters including storied science reporter
Jules Bergman from ABC-TV) was cloudy...
but at Stonehenge skies cleared! There must
have been several thousand people there. A
few reporters, but mostly just regular people.
Oh yea, and a group of robed and chanting,
modern-day Druids. They were interesting!
The sun was in the Southeast sky about
20 degrees above the horizon so we were all
looking South, across the river, just above
the bluffs on the Oregon side. And then, just
before 9 in the morning, it started to get visibly
darker. You could feel the temperature
dropping. The birds stop singing and all of
a sudden, someone in the crowd yelled out,
"Look...the shadow bands!" (Figure 3). And
looking down for a few seconds you could see
the wavy dark lines dancing on the ground
like the light ripples in the bottom of a swimming
pool. And then the diamond ring effect...
It. Was. Awesome!
THAT, my friends, was truly a once-in-alifetime
experience! And now ALL of us get
to experience that once again with The Great
American Eclipse this coming August 21.
Again on a Monday and again in the morning here in the Northwest! Like 1979, Salem will
again be in the path of totality but UNLIKE
'79, the weather is very likely to be clear.
So just exactly what IS this eclipse thing
and why all the fuss? Good questions.
Basically a solar eclipse happens when the
moon's path crosses the sun and the moon
comes between the sun and the earth. The
moon then appears to completely (or partially
in a partial solar eclipse) "cover" the sun
(Figure 4) creating the eclipse. But how can
that be, you may ask, since the sun is so much
larger than the moon. And you're right, the
sun is approximately 400 times larger than
the moon. However (and this is the really
cool part), in what has been described as a
remarkable "cosmic coincidence", the moon
is 400 times closer to the earth than the
sun and therefore the two celestial objects
"seem" to be the same size. This allows the
moon to completely block out the sun...well,
I say "almost" because there are parts of
the sun that are only visible during a solar
eclipse! What we see of the sun from earth
is the sun's "surface" (the photosphere). But,
during a total solar eclipse we can actually
see the sun's atmosphere! That's right, the
sun has an atmosphere. We never see it (except
during an eclipse) because it is a million
times fainter that the sun's surface. But my
oh my is it stunning!
The sun's atmosphere basically comes in
two layers. The thin inner layer, the chromosphere
(chromo for color), can be seen in the
few seconds right after totality and the few
seconds just before totality ends, as a thin
red line surrounding the sun. But it's the corona
("crown" in Latin), the outer or upper
layer of the sun that really puts on a show
(Figure 5). Extending millions of miles out
from the surface (photosphere) of the sun,
the wispy, etherial corona can only be seen
during a total solar eclipse. And the good
news is that you can safely view the corona
with the naked eye but only during totality.
More on safe viewing later.
OK, so the moon blocks the sun and causes
an eclipse. But the moon orbits the earth every
29.5 days so why isn't there an eclipse
every 29.5 days? Ah, now you're thinking
like a scientist. Excellent question with a reasonably
simple answer. The (elliptical) orbit
of the moon around the earth is NOT in the
same plane as the orbit of the earth around
the sun. It's tilted at an angle of about 5 degrees
(Figure 6). Think of it this way. Put two
CDs down on a flat table. One CD represents
the orbit of the earth around sun and the
other CD the orbit of the moon around the
earth. Lying on the table, the two "orbits"
exist in the same plane. Now lift the moon's
CD (orbit) up 5 degrees. The "orbits" are now
NOT in the same plane and the result is a lot
fewer chances for the moon to cross directly
in front of the sun and thus cover the sun creating
Interesting huh? So how many solar eclipse
are there every year? Well...that depends.
What "kind" of solar eclipse are you talking
about? There are three (main) types: total,
partial and annular. Most years have 2 solar
eclipses (of any type) although it is possible
to have as as many as 5 eclipses in one
year, but that's very rare. According to NASA
calculations, only about 25 years in the last
5,000 years have had 5 solar eclipses. The
number of solar eclipses occurring that are
TOTAL is about 1 in every eighteen months.
And remember now, the earth's surface is
a little over 70% water so the likelihood of
a total eclipse occurring over LAND in any
given year is even smaller! So...you're gettin'
my drift of this "once-in-a-lifetime" experience
Then what should we look for in the Salem
First of all, know if your location is in the
path of totality. That path through Oregon is
only about 70 miles wide so there are a lot of
Oregon cities that will not experience totality.
For instance, Salem is in (totality), Portland
IS NOT. Albany is in, Eugene IS NOT
(Figure 2A). But maybe most important
thing to know, is the timing of the eclipse in
your location. Both the arrival time and the
time of duration. Below are a few (general)
times for local cities. For exact times check
the website noted below.
(Note that times and durations can vary
widely even within the same city. To determine
the precise start time, end time, and
duration of totality for your exact location on
eclipse day, use
NASA's interactive Google eclipse map.
Safety note: NEVER look directly at the
sun without approved solar filters such as
eclipse glasses from a reputable source. Failure
to heed this rule may result in permanent
eye damage. The ONLY time it is safe to view
the eclipse without proper eye protection is
when the sun is in total eclipse. As soon as
the sun reappears, look away and replace
your eclipse glasses to view the sun safely.
NASA has a great website with lots of
eclipse info including safety. Check them out
When the eclipse begins ("first contact",
about 9:05ish in Salem) you won't notice
much at all. At first only a small "bite" is
taken out of the sun. But over the next hour
or so, interesting crescent-shaped shadow
effects (from the eclipsing sunlight through
the tree leaves) can be seen on the ground.
Start of Totality (local time)
Duration of Totality (min:sec)
-Salem: 10:17:20 AM PDT
-Keizer: 10:17:26 AM PDT
-Albany: 10:17:05 AM PDT
-Stayton: 10:17:31 AM PDT
Once you get within 10 minutes or so from
totality, events start to happen much more
quickly. The quality of daylight changes rapidly
to an ever deepening twilight. The temperature
starts to drops. Animal life begin to
revert to their nocturnal behavior.
Then within the last minute or two before
totality, things really happen fast. The light is
now noticeably dim and those shadow bands
(the dark, rapidly moving bands like
ripples of sunlight at the bottom of a swimming
pool) can be seen on the ground in the
last minute to thirty seconds before totality.
Then, racing toward the Salem area at over 3
times the speed of sound (767mph), the umbra
(total shadow of the moon) can be seen
as an area of darkness immediately to the
West. And just before totality, in the last few
seconds of sunlight, the sun shines through
the deepest valleys on the moon creating the
effect called Bailey's Beads, then the Diamond
Ring Effect (Figure 7) and then BAM,
you are literally standing under the shadow
of the moon!
NOW, and ONLY NOW is it safe to view the
eclipse without approved eye protection. Remember,
if you view the eclipse without approved
eye protection, you risk serious and
permanent damage to your eyes!
For the next (approximately) two minutes
you will experience the totality of a solar
Interestingly it will NOT be pitch black
out. The sky will be more like a deep twilight
and all around the entire horizon, you will
see something that resembles a 360 degree
sunset. Stars and planets will become visible,
especially Venus and Jupiter. If you're
lucky, you may see solar prominences, giant
tongues of flame (Figure 8), erupting from
the surface of the sun. Birds will stop singing,
and daytime plants will begin to close up as
if for the night, and there will be a noticeable
temperature drop. And then, in what will
seem like the blink of an eye, the two minutes
of totality will come to an end as the shadow
of the moon races eastward.
NOW is the time to look away from the sun
and replace your eclipse glasses!
All the events that you noticed leading up
to the eclipse will be played out in reverse
order. The Diamond Ring Effect, Bailey's
Beads. Watch for the shadow bands again
for the first minute or so after totality. And
then daylight will return as quickly as it disappeared.
So now the question becomes, "Where
will you be watching this once-in-a-lifetime
Actually the "where" you'll be watching the
eclipse is not as important as the "watching"
itself. DO NOT miss this spectacular sight! It
doesn't matter if you're at home or at work
or in a park or a parking lot. Just make sure
As you may already know, there are a
number of special eclipse watching events
planned all over the area but many have been
sold out for weeks. The OMSI eclipse viewing
party at the State Fair grounds is sold out the
the waiting list is full. A number of the local
wineries are hosting viewing parties. Some
are sold out while others may still have space
available. Check with your favorite vintner.
One of the best websites for all things
eclipse in the Salem area is
TravelSalem.com! Log on to that site and click on the
eclipse picture, then click on "eclipse events
and viewing locations". You can even type in
exact dates to see what's happening for specific
days and times. It's very cool!
But possibly the most unique viewing experience
of all will be at Volcanoes stadium.
Normally the Volcanoes play their baseball
games in the evening but on that Monday
there game will be in the morning. The game
will start at 9:35 in the morning and then,
about 45 minutes into the game, the Volcanoes
will make baseball history. It will be the
first EVER "eclipse delay" in Major League
Baseball. How fantastic is THAT! Check out
their website for details.
One more thing to keep in mind. During
the day of and the weekend preceding the
eclipse, there will be A LOT of extra people
visiting our area. Your courtesy and your patience
will be greatly appreciated!
Well I hope I've peaked your interest. The
Great American Eclipse will indeed be a
spectacular sight! Truly a once-in-a-lifetime
Be smart. Be safe. And ENJOY!
While there is an abundance of eclipse information
on the web, I've included a few
websites I find particularly useful, including
information on safe viewing and where to get
approved safety glasses and filters.
Dave Sweeney is the former chief meteorologist
for KOIN-TV and the current chief
meteorologist for Salem's KWVT-TV and
KSLM-TV. He is also is a popular speaker,
announcer and emcee. You can check out his
website at SweeneyTV.com and reach him by
email at Dave@SweeneyTV.com
Oregon Caregivers Escape Union Clutches
40 Percent Helped by Freedom Foundation
Less than a year ago, on the first anniversary
of the Freedom Foundation's expansion
into the Oregon market, SEIU 503 issued a
press release dismissing the organization's
impact in the state.
"Since they have been in Oregon, they have
talked a big game but their influence has
As usual, however, the union was lying.
According to official state payroll data obtained
by the Freedom Foundation via a
public records request, as of May of this year,
11,399 of the 28,667 homecare and personal
support workers represented in Oregon by
SEIU 503 have rejected union membership
and no longer pay any dues or fees to SEIU
That's a drop of 40 percent among the
workers the Freedom Foundation has actually
been concentrating on.
"What they won't tell you," noted Freedom
Foundation Oregon Director Anne Marie
Gurney," is that workers who actually can
are abandoning SEIU 503 in huge numbers.
The Freedom Foundation's 'Decline to Sign'
program, which informs
of their right
to opt out of union
dues and fees, has
cost the union
thousands of members
and millions of
dollars - whether they choose to admit it or
With the addition of Missouri in February,
28 U.S. states now have right-to-work laws
that allow individual workers to choose for
themselves whether to affiliate with a labor
union. Because Oregon isn't one of these,
however, most public-sector workers here
are forced to choose between paying union
dues or fees and losing their job.
The notable exceptions to the rule are
home-based healthcare and childcare providers
being compensated through Medicaid.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 ruled
these individuals were not full-fledged state
employees and could not be forced to pay
union dues or fees.
unions like SEIU
503, which represents
of home care and
workers in Oregon,
did little or nothing
inform their members of this change and, in
fact, adopted countless new rules to make
the opt-out process much more difficult for
those who learned about it anyway.
Consequently, the Freedom Foundation -
a free-market think tank with offices in Oregon,
Washington and California - developed
a comprehensive outreach program including
radio and TV ads, along with personal attention
from canvassers paid to tell caregivers
about their opt-out rights in person.
Over the ensuing three years - in the face
of relentless legal challenges from SEIU 503
- 40 percent of caregivers who had been
paying monthly tribute to the union have responded
to the Freedom Foundation's message
by refusing to join or opting out of SEIU
Given a choice in the matter, Gurney is
convinced most people want nothing to do
with a union. They don't believe the service
it provides is worthwhile and they resent
having their dues money spent on a political
agenda they may or may not support. They
understand and appreciate that the Freedom
Foundation's efforts are putting money back
into their pockets - money that can be used
on food, gasoline, prescriptions and a whole
laundry list of items more important to them
than the lavish salaries and extreme-liberal
political agendas of the union leaders.
"We know that, and so do the unions," she
said. "So when SEIU 503 brags about how
many members it has, it's actually taking
credit for suppressing the First Amendment
rights and wishes of more and more Oregonians
every year. That isn't something to be
proud of; it's despicable.
"SEIU 503's support is a mile wide but only
an inch deep," Gurney said. "They can fudge
the numbers all they like, but at the end of
the day I'd much rather be on the side that's
telling the truth, not the side whose success
depends entirely on lying to its own members
about how their rights are being denied."
The Freedom Foundation is a membersupported
Pacific Northwest think and action
tank promoting individual liberty, free
enterprise and limited, accountable government.
Freres Lumber Awarded $250,000 Grant
Innovations Mass Plywood Panel
U.S. Forest Service Grant
Freres Lumber Co., Inc. applied for and was
recently awarded a U.S. Forest Service Wood
Innovations grant for its new product, the
Mass Plywood Panel (MPP). Freres Lumber
was granted $250,000 to help pay for a computer
numeric code (CNC) machine, which
helps finish panels to buyers -- specifications.
"We were recently informed that our Mass
Plywood Plant was named the Forest Service's
top project in the United States," says
Rob Freres, Executive Vice President. "This
was a competitive process with 114 grant applications
submitted for consideration."
This grant award will go toward purchasing
a Weinmann CNC machine that uses computer
aided design and computer aided machining
to saw doors, windows and all other
cutouts with precision and efficiency. Panels
will be cut with the CNC machine to fit specific
projects, eliminating labor and time at
commercial building sites.
The Mass Plywood Panel facility will be
Freres Lumber Company's seventh wood
processing plant. Plant construction is estimated
to cost upwards of $23 million. The
plant is expected to open for manufacturing
in January 2018 and will begin with employing
approximately twenty people per shift.
The economic impact is expected to have a
positive trickle-down effect, as well, retaining
nearly 500 existing Freres family wage
jobs, and retaining hundreds of indirect jobs,
"This grant award provides welcome financial
support for our company's significant
investment in the future direction of our
veneer based wood products market," says
"Patents are currently pending for the Mass
Plywood Panel," said Tyler Freres, Vice President
of Sales. "MPP is a new-to-the-world
product. It is a carbon neutral substitute for
concrete and steel in multi-level structures.
It is one-sixth the weight of concrete and
will provide a stronger, lighter, smaller, less
expensive option than cross-laminated timbers."
Testing through Oregon State University of
Forestry and the Center for Advanced Wood
Products has proven that MPP can achieve
the same structure attributes of Cross Laminated
Timber (CLT) while using 20 to 30
percent less wood. Like CLT, MPP panels
can be manufactured up to 24 inches thick,
12 feet wide and 48 feet long.
The U.S. Forest Service points out that the
public-private partnerships leveraged with
these grants will lead to the removal of hazardous
fuels from forests while spurring the
economic development of rural communities.
"The Wood Innovations Grant Program
helps create jobs in rural communities and
keeps our forests healthy," said U.S. Forest
Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "By investing in
strong markets for forest products, we can
incentivize sustainable forest management
and sustain our rural communities."
For more information on the Mass Plywood
Panel, visit www.frereslumber.com/products-
Freres Lumber was established in 1922 by
T.G Freres on the North Fork of Oregon's
Santiam River. Over the last ninety years, and
three generations of family management, the
company has evolved from a small sawmill
to one of Oregon's premier wood products
manufacturing companies. The company
now operates six plants, including a small log
veneer plant, large log veneer plant, veneer
drying facility, studmill, plywood plant and
cogeneration facility. Freres is committed to
maintaining modern manufacturing facilities,
producing high-quality wood products,
and providing family wage jobs to the local
area. For more information, visit www.frereslumber.
com or call 503-859-2121.