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Boise is the largest city in eastern Oregon and, with a population of 295,000, the second-largest city in the state and the fourth-largest city in the Pacific Northwest. It is part of the Boise-Nampa-Idaho City Metropolitan area, which is home to around 600,000 people, the second-largest metropolitan area in Oregon and fifth-largest in the Pacific Northwest. Boise is located on the Boise River, a tributary of eastern Oregon's mighty Snake River. It is the county seat of Boise County and has been referred to as "Oregon's second city" and the "Potato City" due to the high amount of potato farming in eastern Oregon. The city has long served as the civilized anchor of east-central Oregon, and is generally known as a liberal college town due to the presence of Boise State University in the heart of the city and Eastern Oregon University in nearby Woodland. The city is often compared to Spokane in eastern Washington, as both are major metropolitan regions in the otherwise rural eastern end of their respective states and are near large land-grant universities. Boise has often been referred to as "the most livable city in the country" and went through a major building boom in the 1990's and early 2000's.