Hi Hoogey! I am originally from Oregon and also love clam chowder. I use James Beard's recipe - since he was also an Oregonian, I figure he knew how to make good chowder.
Fry four slices of bacon. When crisp, remove from pan, and saute 1 cup of celery (small dice), 1 cup of diced onion, 1/2 cup small dice carrots. After about 5 minutes, add 2 cups of finely chopped potatoes. Drain four small cans of chopped (not minced) clams and add the liquid to your vegetables. If that doesn't cover them, add some water or bottled clam juice. Cook for about 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add clams, about a cup of milk and a cup of cream or 1/2 and 1/2 (your choice) and a big knob of butter. Sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. If you want, you can also add a pinch of thyme (only a pinch). PLEASE don't thicken with flour or cornstarch...there is no way to cook it enough to get rid of the taste, and it will look and taste like wallpaper paste. You can adjust these proportions for numbers of servings and your own taste. Welcome to DC - you will like it here!