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Seattle area Demographics

A THRIVING ECONOMY

The Puget Sound region is a commercial center and a major hub for trans-Pacific and European trade. Some of the world's most successful and innovative companies are based here, including Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon.com, Costco, Paccar, Weyerhaeuser, WaMU, Nordstrom, Safeco, and many more.

EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY OF LIFE

Spectacular natural surroundings, world-class education systems, thriving urban centers, vibrant neighborhoods, and a lively arts and culture scene are just some of what makes greater Seattle a magnet for newcomers and visitors.

Portland Commercial Lending picture 1Demographics

POPULATION

The high quality of life combined with a robust economy attracts many new residents to the Puget Sound region.

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) estimates that the regional population topped 3.5 million in 2007. Growth is predicted to continue and by 2040, PSRC anticipates a regional population of around 5 million.

Newcomers bring greater diversity to the area. In King County, for example, Census Bureau estimates released in August 2007 show that the Hispanic population increased nearly 38 percent while the Asian population went up more than 25 percent.

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Residents are highly educated; in fact, Seattle consistently ranks at the top in national polls for college degrees per capita. PSRC calculates that more than 35 percent of the region's population has at least a bachelor's degree, and one-third of those also have graduate or professional degree.

GEOGRAPHY

From snow-capped mountain peaks to the glistening waters of the Puget Sound, the Seattle area is renowned for its natural beauty.

Seattle is the largest city in the four-county metropolitan area known as the Puget Sound region. The region's other major metropolitan cities are Bellevue to the east; Tacoma to the south; Everett to the north; and Bremerton to the west. They are surrounded by a number of growing cities that include Redmond, Kent, Renton, Bothell, Issaquah, and Kirkland. View regional map.

The city of Seattle is located in the center of the western Washington. The city is built on seven hills between the Puget Sound and freshwater lakes to its east. Seattle's altitude ranges from zero to 500 feet above sea level.

Portland Commercial Lender picture 8Relocating

The continuing growth of the Puget Sound region is a clear indication of its desirability as a place to do business and to live.

The region's population topped 3.5 million in 2007, and more people have consistently been moving here than leaving. This influx of new residents is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future. In fact, the Puget Sound Regional Council estimates that by 2040, the region will add 1.7 million people and 1.2 million more jobs.

Visiting

Whether you're planning to hike mountain trails, embark on a cruise, or wander through museums, shops, and bustling neighborhood districts, the Greater Seattle Chamber's member companies can help you get the most out of your trip.

Use the links above to find businesses that can help you get around and places to stay. While you're planning your itinerary, be sure to check out the restaurants, tours, museums and other attractions that are listed under "things to do.

 

Quality of Life

Ringed by snow-capped mountain peaks. Crisscrossed by fresh- and salt-waterways. Home to urban centers, small cities and vibrant neighborhoods.

Greater Seattle is an incredible place to live as well to do business.

Bellevue Commercial Loans Picture 6

THE GREATER SEATTLE AREA

Seattle is the largest city in the four-county metropolitan area known as the Puget Sound region. The region's other major metropolitan cities are Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett and Bremerton. They are surrounded by a number of growing cities that include Redmond, Kent, Renton, Bothell, Issaquah, and Kirkland. View regional map

CLIMATE

The temperate climate allows residents to enjoy their surroundings year-round. High temperatures in July average 75 degrees, while low temperatures in winter drop below freezing an average of only 15 days per year.

Of course, it does rain in the Puget Sound region that's why the area's lush vegetation is always a rich green. But it rarely rains heavily. Total average rainfall is 35 inches, less than New York City and Miami. HOUSING

AND COST OF LIVING

A strong economy and a diverse and well-educated populace means the Puget Sound region is a relatively affluent area.

Within the four-county area, King County has the highest median household income, projected at $67,338 by the Washington State Office of Financial Management. Second is Snohomish County at $64,582, followed by Kitsap County at $60,719 and Pierce County at $56,789.

Cost of living is generally higher than the U.S. average, but it is in line with other metropolitan centers with comparable income levels Employment

The Puget Sound region is a great place to do business.

The continuing growth of the region is a clear indication of its desirability. According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, the region will add approximately 1.4 million people and 1.1 million more jobs by 2040.

Seattle Commercial Lender Picture 7WORKFORCE

Approximately 56 percent of the population is in the prime workforce age of 25-64. Residents are also among the most highly educated in the nation, with more than 35 percent having at least a bachelor's degree and one-third of those holding a graduate or professional degree. Employment Services

DIVERSITY

As the region's economy and population becomes increasingly diverse and international, having an inclusive and welcoming culture is a core value among businesses and residents. Minority-owned businesses are a dynamic part of the economy, and in 2007, 17 minority-owned businesses from Washington state had revenues of $20 million or more and 22 had revenues that topped $10 million.

INDUSTRY CLUSTERS

While the greater Seattle economy includes a broad range of industries, local leaders have identified clusters that are essential to the region's current and future prosperity. These are:

  • Aerospace
  • Information Technology
  • Clean Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Logistics and International Trade
  • Military
  • Tourism

A Unique History and Geography

Founded in 1869 by William Meydenbauer and incorporated as a city in 1953, Bellevue spans 31 square miles between Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. To the East are the snow-capped mountains of the Cascades. To the South, Mount Rainier dominates the horizon, and to the North, Mount Baker marks the proximity of the Canadian border. To the West, two floating highway bridges link Bellevue to Seattle.

Bellevue's neighbors on the Eastside of Lake Washington are Yarrow Point, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Beaux Arts, Medina, Kirkland, Bothell, Newcastle, Redmond, Issaquah, Woodinville and Sammamish.

Climate

Bellevue's climate is uncommonly temperate. "Comfortable" is an often-used description, along with "mild, gentle and calm." Summer daytime temperatures average just under 70 degrees, while winter lows tend to be in the 40's. Average precipitation totals only around 38 inches per year.

Tacoma Commercial Lending Picture 1

A Dynamic Population

Bellevue's population is right around 107,000 and is projected to continue its upward trend. Bellevue is the largest city on the Eastside, the second largest in King County, and the fourth largest city in Washington state.

Employment

It is estimated that there are 121,000 jobs in Bellevue. This comprises about 11 percent of the county's total. Bellevue's employment is expected to grow between 25 and 30 percent over the next 20 years, resulting in an increase of 30,000 to 35,000 new jobs.

Cost of Living

Bellevue has experienced an overall growth in incomes, placing it well above the county average. Home ownership is also high. In spite of a higher regional cost index than the national average, Bellevue remains an affordable place to live, with incomes continuing to outpace inflation.

Most recent data suggest the average household income for Bellevue is about 30 percent higher than the median household income for the region, an Welcome to Tacoma Pierce County, Washington, 'One of America's Most Livable Communities,' the City of Destiny!

Nestled conveniently between the bustling metropolis of Seattle and the eventful state capital of Olympia, Tacoma is the ideal location for people on the move. Tacoma-Pierce County offers location, affordability, recreation, room for business expansion and all of the attractions of larger metropolitan areas, but still provides a hometown feel. World-class museums, hotels and theaters draw thousands to Tacoma's downtown core, while the shores of the Puget Sound and the peaks of Mount Rainier call the more adventurous to explore the astonishing surrounding environment throughout all of Pierce County. Whether you are visiting, living, working, or conducting business in the area, Tacoma-Pierce County has a vibrant history and an even brighter future! d significantly higher than the county average.

Portland, Oregon, has often been called the big city with the small town feel. Its mild weather, breathtaking scenery, exciting location and friendly people have all contributed to its appearance on numerous Best Of lists, including Online Insiders Top 10 Least Expensive Cities, Money Magazines Top 10 Places to Vacation and Top 10 Best Places to Live, and American Style Magazines Top 25 Arts Destinations. Portland, Oregon, has often been called the big city with the small town feel. Its mild weather, breathtaking scenery, exciting location and friendly people have all contributed to its appearance on numerous Best Of lists, including Online Insiders Top 10 Least Expensive Cities, Money Magazines Top 10 Places to Vacation and Top 10 Best Places to Live, and American Style Magazines Top 25 Arts Destinations. For more Portland praises check out our Portland in the News section.

  • Downtown
  • Surrounding Communities
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Location
  • Population
  • History
  • Weather

Location

Nestled between the beautiful Coast Range on the west and the spectacular Cascade Range on the east, Portland sits at the junction of the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

From downtown Portland, its just a 90 minute drive to the scenic Oregon coast, an hour-and-a-half to Mt. Hood and some of the best skiing in the country, a half-an-hour to the peaceful vineyards and farms of the fertile Willamette Valley, and less than three hours to a Mariners game in Seattle.

Population

With an ethnically diverse population of almost 2 million, Portland is the 28th largest metropolitan area in the country, the fourth largest city on the West Coast, and the largest city in the state. It includes six counties spread over 5000 square miles. 

History

In 1806, Lewis and Clark discovered the land that would later become the city of Portland. Asa Lovejoy, a native of Massachusetts, and Francis Petty grove, a native of Maine, founded the city in 1851. Lovejoy wanted to name this city after his beloved Boston, but Petty grove wanted to name it after his hometown of Portland. A coin toss settled the dispute, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Weather

Sheltered by two mountain ranges, Portland enjoys mild weather all year long, rarely experiencing the severe weather extremes common to much of the rest of the country.

However, that doesn't mean that Portland doesn't have seasons. July and August are warm and dry, with average high temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s. The occasional winter snowstorm blankets the city in a few inches of snow that stay around long enough to be enjoyed but rarely long enough to annoy.

In the fall, the many deciduous trees around the city put on a colorful show to delight the eye. And spring blossoms prove that Portland truly is the City of Roses.

Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland offers visitors a wide variety of shops, professional services, restaurants, housing, entertainment venues, museums and parks.

Pioneer Courthouse Square serves as Portland's town square. Often called Portland's Living Room, the square is the site of concerts, rallies, the annual Christmas tree lighting and more. Pioneer Courthouse Square is named for the historic Pioneer Courthouse located next to the square.

Portland's downtown is dotted with award-winning historic districts. Chinatown, Old Town, Skidmore, Yamhill, and the Pearl all feature carefully preserved historic buildings that have been renovated to provide space for offices, shops, restaurants and housing.

On the east side of the river, the Lloyd District and the Central Eastside Industrial District add to the economic development of the city. The Lloyd District features the Lloyd Center Mall, the Rose Quarter, including the Rose Garden Arena and the Oregon Convention Center.

Portland's Neighborhood and Surrounding Communities

The Portland metropolitan area is made up of portions of six counties. Within each of these counties are cities and towns with their own unique flavor, and within the city of Portland there are dozens of distinctive neighborhoods.

  • Multnomah County
  • Portland
  • Southwest Portland
  • Northwest Portland
  • North Portland
  • Northeast Portland
  • Southeast Portland
  • Gresham and Troutdale
  • Clackamas County
  • Milwaukie
  • Gladstone
  • Oregon City
  • Lake Oswego
  • West Linn
  • Wilsonville
  • Washington County
  • Beaverton
  • Hillsboro
  • Tigard
  • Tualatin
  • Yamhill County
  • Columbia County
  • Clark County

Multnomah County

At 465 square miles, Multnomah County is, geographically, the smallest county in the state. However, it boasts the largest population.

Portland

The city of Portland is divided into 94 neighborhoods, each with their own neighborhood association. A strong political and social force within the city, the neighborhood associations solve problems, create communities, promote business, and work together to preserve the character and charm of each unique neighborhood.

Southwest Portland Portland's downtown core is located in the city's southwest quadrant. Easy parking, free public transportation, and tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly streets make downtown Portland an enjoyable place to work, shop, eat or just people watch. With luxurious apartments, condominiums and lofts, downtown Portland is a great place to live as well. Many downtown residences feature spectacular views, off street parking, and other amenities.

Just west of downtown, the West Hills neighborhood is home to some of Portland's grandest mansions. Known as Portland Heights, this neighborhood offers panoramic views of the city, stately homes and beautiful gardens. The Corbett neighborhood, just south of downtown, features turn-of-the-century Victorian homes. The Johns Landing area that runs along the waterfront of the Willamette River is known for its unique shops, office complexes and condominiums. The Terwilliger neighborhood, located above Johns Landing, is home to Lewis & Clark College and OHSU.

Northwest Portland

Northwest Portland combines old and new, single- and multi-family dwellings to provide an attractive neighborhood for artists, young professionals and senior citizens. Northwest is home to trendy neighborhoods like the Pearl District, Nob Hill and Old Town/Chinatown. The Northwest Portland area features Forest Park, the largest forested urban wilderness park in the country, and the Pittock Mansion, a stately French Renaissance manor built by publishing magnate Henry Pittock in the early 20th Century. This example of gracious Victorian living is open to the public throughout the year.

North Portland North Portland is home to many neighborhoods, including St. Johns, Overlook, and Jantzen Beach. The St. Johns neighborhood is named for the St. Johns Bridge. This gothic style bridge was built by Dr. D.B. Steinman in the early 1930s, and was, according to Dr. Steinman, the most beautiful bridge in the world. The Overlook neighborhood is so named for the bluff overlooking the Willamette River. This area of gracious residences is home to the University of Portland. On the banks of the Columbia River, the Jantzen Beach neighborhood includes Delta Park, Portland International Raceway, and Jantzen Beach Super Center.

Northeast Portland Elliot, Irvington, Alameda, Rose City, Laurelhurst, Grant Park, and Beaumont are just a sampling of the well-established neighborhoods that make up the northeast quadrant of the city. Marked by Victorian, English Tudor, and Craftsman style architecture, Northeast Portland has shown an increase in popularity over the last two decades. The fashionable Laurelhurst neighborhood actually straddles Northeast and Southeast Portland, and includes beautiful Laurelhurst Park, one of the city's premier places for walking, playing or just relaxing.

Southeast Portland Southeast Portland boasts Mt. Tabor Park, an extinct volcano with a natural amphitheater; Crystal Springs Rhododendron Test Gardens; Reed College; and Oaks Park, the areas oldest permanent amusement park. Its proximity to the downtown core area and its diverse neighborhoods, ranging from the gracious to the quirky, make Southeast Portland one of the most popular residential areas in the city.

Gresham and Troutdale The second largest city in Multnomah County, Gresham is the gateway to the scenic Columbia Gorge. Home to Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham is the eastern end of the MAX light rail line. To the north of Gresham, you'll find the towns of Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village. If you're looking for real estate bargains, you've come to the right place. This area has some of the best home for the dollar values in the county.

Clackamas County Just south of Multnomah County, Clackamas County is home to Mt. Hood and the country's only year round skiing at Timberline Lodge.

Milwaukie Located on the eastern shore of the Willamette River, Milwaukie is a comfortable mix of well-established neighborhoods and new housing developments. Situated between the Willamette and Clackamas River, Milwaukie offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating and swimming.

Gladstone South of Milwaukie lies the town of Gladstone. Featuring Auto Row, a stretch of McLaughlin Boulevard offering auto dealerships for almost every make of foreign and American car, Gladstone is the go to place for car shoppers. Located on the east bank of the Willamette River, Gladstone provides 112 acres of park land providing year round opportunities for recreation in the great outdoors.

Oregon City The county seat of Clackamas County, Oregon City was once the capital of the Oregon Territory. Oregon City is the oldest incorporated city west of the Mississippi River and the official end of the Oregon Trail. Many of the city's homes and buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and the city takes pride in preserving its historical and architectural heritage. With 26 parks, a municipal pool, and a recreation center, Clackamas Community College, Oregon City is a great place to raise a family.

Lake Oswego Eight miles southwest of Portland, Lake Oswego sits on the west bank of the Willamette River. The centerpiece of this town is its namesake, Oswego Lake. The city of Lake Oswego takes its responsibility to maintain the livability of the area very seriously. For this reason, the Parks and Recreation Department manages almost 400 acres of developed and undeveloped parks, natural areas and green spaces.

West Linn Beautiful custom homes cover the hillsides of West Linn, a community with elevations ranging from 40 to 580 feet above sea level. Many of those homes feature breathtaking views of the Willamette Valley, the Willamette and Tualatin Rivers, and a spectacular stretch of the Cascade Range that includes Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams. Located on the west side of the Willamette River, West Linn is one of the fastest growing communities in the metro area.

Wilsonville The community of Wilsonville sits halfway between Portland and Salem. Its unique location between two of Oregon's major urban centers has made it a popular destination for the corporate headquarters and distribution centers of various companies from around the Pacific Northwest. The 98-acre Memorial Park located on the Willamette River provides facilities for a variety of recreational pursuits.

Washington County To the west of Multnomah County, Washington County covers 727 square miles and is currently the fastest growing area in the state. The county owes much of its growth to its thriving high tech industry. Washington County is also home to some of the most productive agricultural land in the state.

Beaverton Just west of downtown Portland, Beaverton is a thriving community. Over one third of the houses, apartments, and condominiums in Beaverton have been built within the last ten years. The Tualatin Parks and Recreation Department maintains 150 parks and recreation facilities, as well as eight community swim centers, a skate park and lovely community gardens. A brand new state of the art library beckons adults and children alike.

Hillsboro At the west end of the MAX light rail line sits Hillsboro, the areas center for high technology and the county seat. Moderately priced homes, convenient transportation, and large employers, such as Intel and Nike, make Hillsboro the first choice for many people moving to the Portland Metro Area.

Tigard Southwest of Portland, nestled in the Tualatin Valley, is the community of Tigard. Just off I-5, Tigard boasts more than 300 acres of nature areas, green spaces, and parks, including Fanno Creek Park and Cook Park on the banks of the Tualatin River. Tigard is also home to Washington Square, the west sides premier shopping mall. Every summer, Tigard plays host to the areas largest Hot Air Balloon festival, which draws participants from across the country. Recently opened, the new Tigard library houses books, videos, a coffee shop and an historical museum.

Tualatin Ten miles south of Portland, Tualatin straddles both Washington and Clackamas counties. Tualatin's commitment to livability has been nationally recognized. For the last 12 years, the city has received the designation of Tree City, USA. Tualatin boasts a strong commercial core and carefully planned residential communities.

Yamhill County Southwest of Portland, Yamhill County is famous for its rich agricultural land. In recent years, Yamhill County's prolific fruit and nut orchards have been joined by more than 100 vineyards and 40 wineries, producing a wide variety of award winning wines including the worlds premier pinot noir.

Yamhill County is home to George Fox University, Linfield College, and the Evergreen Aviation Museum, which houses Howard Hughes Spruce Goose.

Columbia County Located northwest of Portland, scenic Columbia County covers 687 square miles along the shores of the Columbia River. With so much river frontage and wilderness, agriculture, lumber, and increasingly, outdoor recreation form the back bone of Columbia County's economy. Less than an hour from downtown Portland on Highway 30, the town of St. Helens is the county seat.

Clark County Just across the Columbia River is Clark County, Washington. The largest city in Clark County, Vancouver has been twice awarded the All American City award by the National Civic League. Vancouvers 45 square miles include stately older homes, carefully planned new housing developments, high tech manufacturing firms, large and small retail businesses and shopping malls.

For more information regarding Vancouver, Washington, and to obtain a copy of the Welcome Home to Vancouver relocation guide, contact the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce at 360.694.2588

Educational Opportunities in Portland

With one of the best community college systems in the country, a variety of colleges and universities, and a public school system that produces high school graduates whose SAT scores consistently place in the top 5 cities nationwide, Portland offers excellent educational opportunities to young and old alike.

  • Portland Schools
  • Higher Education
  • State Schools
  • Community Colleges
  • Portland State University
  • Oregon Health Sciences University
  • Private Colleges and Universities
  • George Fox University
  • Lewis & Clark University
  • Marylhurst University
  • Reed College
  • University of Portland

Portland Schools

With 75 neighborhood elementary and middle schools feeding 10 local high schools, Portland boasts the states largest public school system. In addition, Portland Public Schools offer a wide array of charter and magnet schools, specializing in an assortment of programs, including language immersion, fine arts, International Baccalaureate programs, and technical and health specialties.

Portland also offers a large number of private schools that emphasize everything from foreign languages to fine arts to religion. And for parents who choose to teach their own children, Oregon offers one of the most supportive environments in the country for home schooling families.

Higher Education State Schools

Community Colleges

The Oregon State System of Higher Education operates several institutions of higher learning within the Portland Metro Area, including one of the finest community college systems in the country. Students may attend Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, or Portland Community College with campuses in Southwest Portland, North Portland, and Washington County. In addition to two-year college transfer programs, Oregon's community college system offers a large number of Associate of Arts degrees, as well as continuing and adult education classes. 

Portland State University

With an enrollment of more than 24,000 students, Portland State University is the largest institution in the Oregon State University System. Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Portland State University offers more than 100 undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees as well as graduate certificates and continuing education programs. 

Oregon Health Sciences University

Oregon Health Sciences University sits atop 500 foot Marquam Hill, overlooking Portland and the Willamette River. Oregon's only fully accredited medical school, OHSU has received the highest level of accreditation from the nations major accrediting organizations. Offering degrees in dentistry, nursing and various medical fields, OHSU is frequently on the cutting edge of medical research.

The 1500 doctors and scientists on staff at the university have been responsible for breakthroughs in the treatment of numerous diseases, including leukemia, heart disease and various neurological disorders including Parkinson and Alzheimer's. OHSU operates the University Hospital and Doernbecher, the regions premier children's hospital, as well as several clinics, research centers and public outreach units. 

Private Colleges and Universities

George Fox University Just 40 minutes south of Portland, George Fox University is located in the small town of Newberg. Recognized nationally for academic excellence, this Christian liberal arts university offers undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major areas of study. Combining George Fox College and Western Evangelical Seminary, George Fox University offers 12 graduate degrees in education, psychology and religion at its Newberg and Tigard campuses. The Tigard campus also offers a degree completion program for working adults. 

Lewis & Clark College

Founded in 1867 by Presbyterian pioneers, Lewis & Clark College sits on a beautiful 133-acre campus in southwest Portland, adjacent to the 640-acre Tryon Creek State Park. Lewis & Clark College offers undergraduate degrees in 25 majors and the nationally recognized Lewis & Clark Law School. 

Marylhurst University

The first liberal arts college for women in the Pacific Northwest, Marylhurst University, located 20 minutes south of downtown Portland in the town of Marylhurst, was founded in 1859. Now a coeducational university, Marylhurst was recognized by US News & World Report as one of the Best Values in higher education in the west. Offering both traditional and non-traditional degrees, Marylhurst University is one of Oregon's fastest growing and lowest priced comprehensive liberal arts institutions. 

Reed College

Located in Portland's Eastmoreland neighborhood, Reed College is an independent, coeducational liberal arts college. Nationally recognized for its intellectually rigorous educational program, Reed College offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in 22 major areas of study and a masters degree in Liberal Arts. Since 1915, Reed College has produced 31 Rhodes scholars, tying for the largest number of Rhodes scholars among small colleges in the United States. 

University of Portland

Affiliated with the Congregation of the Holy Cross, the University of Portland offers one of the top five graduate programs in the west, according to US News and World Report. In addition, the University of Portland offers undergraduate degrees in a wide variety of fields, including fine arts, nursing, business and education. Located in North Portland, the campus of U of P is considered to be one of Portland's most beautiful garden spots. In 2003, the university was also the home of the NCAA Women's Soccer champions. 

Quality Health Care in Portland

With more than a dozen hospitals and a vast array of clinics to choose from, residents of the Portland Metro area have access to the finest medical care in the state.

Health systems such as Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health System, Oregon Health Sciences University, and Providence Health System operate hospitals and clinics to meet the healthcare needs of the community.

During the past decade, Oregon Health Sciences University has become a national leader in biomedical research. Discoveries have led to significant advances in the treatment of heart disease, several forms of cancer and neurological disorders such as Parkinson and Alzheimer.

Portland is Oregon's referral center for the tough cases. Patients with advanced cancer, severe burns, cardiopulmonary disease and in need of organ transplants come from throughout the region to receive the best

 

medical care available.