An 'Echo' of creativity

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SNOQUALMIE - Echo Glen Children's Center just outside of Snoqualmie feels a lot like a school. It has a modest but well kept rural campus, and a walk down its halls will send you past children working at computers or studying in the library.

It looks like a school until you notice some of the children walk around in orange jump suits, and that their every move is monitored by closed-circuit television cameras.

It all comes together when you realize Echo Glen Children's Center is run by the state Department of Social and Health Services' Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration. The children there, ages 10 to 18, are serving out sentences for crimes that range from car theft to murder.

All time there is sanctioned by the state. It is not a vacation or camp. If a child leaves the campus, they are arrested and brought back.

It can all make for a tense atmosphere, but Echo Glen is pretty serene as far as correctional facilities go. The center is proud to have a low profile in the community because it means there have been few problems with the children. Save for a small sign that points to its location at the end of Southeast 99th Street, it is easy to miss. There is a gate that lets visitors onto its campus, but there are no fences, except for the one around the maximum-security dorm.

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