Preparations are in motion for one of metropolitan Portland’s largest capital projects – the new Cowlitz 100,000 square foot casino. The 152-acre site located about 25 miles due north from the Portland International Airport, sits just west of La Center, Washington.

Managing construction will be general contractor Swinerton Builders who have had experience working both with tribes and with casino-related projects in Washington and California including the Lummi administrative offices and the Dry Creek Band of Pomo’s River Rock Casino. Award-winning architect firm Friedmutter Group will be providing the Cowlitz their unique single-story casino design.

Prior to the planned mid-2017 opening of the $160 million casino, the tribe will also be upgrading the I-5 corridor’s exit 16 exchange to the tune of about $190 million – a requisite capital improvement to insure the smooth flow of traffic. It is estimated that 1,000 people will be employed at some point during the construction of the casino, including up to 300 union workers.

The small township of La Center, with a population of just under 3,000 people, currently has four card rooms in operation nearby. The closest casino with legal slot machines, the Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde, Oregon, is more than 100 miles away from the Cowlitz location.

Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribe will be overseeing the entire Cowlitz operation from construction to operations management. After the casino is fully operational, the next phases of the construction will include tribal administrative buildings, a 250-rooom hotel, entertainment and convention center venues, retail and elder housing.