Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska, United States and the fourth-largest city in the state. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 5,469 at the 2000 census; the Census Bureau estimated that it had risen to 10,256 in 2008. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 364,701 in 2008. Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Historically entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. The George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Departments of Environmental Conservation, Labor and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services. Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Wasilla's mayor before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his vice-presidential running mate in the 2008 United States presidential election. Wasilla is named after Chief Wasilla, a local Dena'ina chief.