Longview, Washington is the largest city in Cowlitz County with a population of approximately 35,000 people. The climate in Longview is moderate with an average temperature of 51 degrees. The area provides recreational opportunities year-round, has a small town feel, and yet is well situated for easy access to Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, the mountains, and the ocean.
The City of Longview is 120 miles from Seattle, Washington and 50 miles from Portland, Oregon. Bordered to the south by the majestic Columbia River, Longview is just a short drive across the historic Lewis and Clark Bridge to Rainier, Oregon. Due to its convenient location, Longview has played an instrumental role in the Washington and Oregon marine transportation industry since the 1920s. The Port of Longview lies about 66 miles by river from the Pacific Ocean and has a rich history of transporting timber, grain, steel, and other cargo to Asia and beyond.
There’s no shortage of wildlife or green areas in Longview. The Longview Parks Department maintains over 300 acres of parks, 10 miles of public trails and several sports fields. There are also BMX trails and a skatepark in Longview, as well as trails and a skatepark in Longview’s neighboring city, Kelso. Longview was named a Tree City, U.S.A. and is home to the Nutty Narrows Bridge, built in 1963 as a way for squirrels to safely cross a busy road at the Civic Center. Cowlitz County even sports four electric car charging stations, three of which are in Longview.
There are also several state parks and Mount Saint Helens visitor centers in the area. Just 20 minutes from Longview is Seaquest State Park, which is just across the road from the Silver Lake Mount Saint Helens Visitors Center. The eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 was a significant event locally and globally, and many of the locals still talk about where they were when the mountain blew. The Longview Daily News even received a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the eruption.
Kayakers will love paddling along the many rivers and tributaries in the area such as the Cowlitz River and the Columbia. For those who enjoy walking, jogging, and biking, the historic Lake Sacajawea Park has 3.5 miles of trails, as well as two playgrounds, the Solar System Walk, the Arboretum, and Japanese Gardens to explore. You can enjoy kayaking, fishing, canoeing, and picnicking or just somewhere to relax and read, take a lunch break, or watch the geese and ducks along the lake. During the annual “Go-4th" event, everyone gathers at the lake to enjoy outdoor concerts, games, exhibits, explore the many vendors set up around the lake, and watch the grand firework display over the lake to celebrate Independence Day.
The Cowlitz County Fair takes place annually in Longview and is situated next to the Cowlitz County Event Center, which features a 13,000 square foot exposition hall and over 20,000 square feet of meeting space for businesses and events around the Pacific Northwest. Two of the largest employers in Longview are Weyerhaeuser and Kapstone. The city and county governments and court houses also facilitate doing business in the area and provide employment opportunities. Cowlitz County is home to the Cowlitz County District Court, Juvenile Court, and Superior Court.
Longview is only about an hour and a half drive from the coast, making it easy to get away for the day or weekend to Long Beach, Washington or Seaside, Oregon in any season. Ilwaco, Washington, located just a few miles from Long Beach, allows fisherman access to Buoy 10, a world renowned hot spot for incredible salmon fishing. You can take your own boat out, or adventure on one of the many salmon charters in the area. Long Beach is a paradise for seafood enthusiasts. You can spend the morning digging clams, explore the historic 1800s village of Oysterville, get some juicy oysters from Willapa Bay, or find some fresh local crab. In August, Long Beach hosts the annual Washington State International Kite Festival, drawing kite flyers and enthusiasts from all over the world.
At the heart of Longview is Lower Columbia College. Lower Columbia College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and is part of the state-supported community college system. The college is particularly known for strong programs in Nursing, Business Management, Welding, Medical Assisting, Early Childhood Education, and Criminal Justice. Lower Columbia College is also home to the state of the art Rose Center for the Arts. The Rose Center for the Arts houses a theater and art gallery and presents theatrical plays and art exhibits throughout the year.
Longview is made up of 21 different neighborhood areas. The Longview School District consists of Mark Morris High School and R.A. Long High School as well as three middle schools and eight elementary schools. R.A. Long High School is on the National Register of Historic Places and is named after the founding father of Longview, the timber baron Robert A. Long, who planned and built the city with entirely private funds. Longview is also home to several other nationally recognized historical places, such as the Columbia Theater, the Longview Community Church, and the Longview Civic Center Historic District, which includes the infamous Monticello Hotel visited by Gordon Ramsay on the television show Hotel Hell.