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State expects a million people for the eclipse - probably

When it comes to estimating the crowd, it's more of a guess than exact science.

COURTESY NASA - A solar eclipse.State officials say they expect 1 million people to descend on a swath of Oregon to view the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

That's enough to give us a severe case of the McCalls.*

But where does that 1 million number come from?

When the Oregon Capital Insider asked the Office of Emergency Management for documentation — whether correspondence, a presentation or internal reports — that show how that 1 million figure was arrived at, the agency said it had nothing.

Cory Grogan, a public information officer for the emergency management office, said that while the number was based in part on hotel reservations and camping sites, it was more of a...guess.

A guess that has been front and center in the frenzy of pre-eclipse media coverage.

"There's nothing that would show how that could even be close to an accurate estimate, because we have no way to know," Grogan said, noting the actual number of visitors could be 500,000 or 1.5 million.

And it's not apparent whether any state agencies or other groups will be tracking the actual number of visitors to the path of totality — the swath of the state where the eclipse will be most striking.

*Former Oregon Gov. Tom McCall, a Republican who led the state from 1967 to 1975, championed the state's land use laws and famously encouraged people to visit Oregon, but "for heaven's sake, don't move here to live."