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Clark County, Washington
La Center is among the fastest growing towns in the fastest growing county in Washington. Gambling is legal here; La Center hosts two and soon three casinos, drawing customers from the greater Portland area , including Southwest Washington. The town is mainly a bedroom community for Portland and the more densely populated southern portion of the county. In addition to the casinos, it does contain three restaurants, a coffee shop, a pizzeria-ice cream parlor, a video store, a gas station- quick stop, a telephone company, an art gallery, a tavern, two beauty parlors, and its own winery, Salishon Vineyards. At its southern end is a wildlife viewing area (birds) and the east fork of the Lewis River, a calm site for canoeing or swimming in summer, and Steelhead fishing in winter and spring (I'm told). This area is under development into a park by the county. (1999) La Center's schools are in financial straits because of the rapid growth in the area and the population's reluctance to pass seemingly constant requests for bond levees. Historically, La Center was founded on timber. It was serviced by steam boats from Portland. The trees and boats have long since gone, replaced by the automobile and the commute to Portland. But the town still has some small town character...at least for a little while longer.
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