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Spokane is the second largest city in Washington state, smaller only than Seattle. Greater Spokane (downtown and surrounding suburbs) has a population of over 500,000 people, and is a hub of industry and commerce for eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Spokane was nicknamed the "Lilac City" for the natural abundance of the flower growing throughout the city, which has spawned an entire festival in honor of the bloom complete with a local beauty pageant. Spokane has recently gone through a major cultural overhaul, due in part to the dying out of the railroad industry, which once was the central reason for Spokane's growth. With the advent of environmental consciousness, heavy industry in Spokane has been replaced by the softer pursuits of hospitality, education, and computer technology. Higher education, in fact, has become a major source of employment and social change within Spokane, as there are four major universities attracting thousands of students, families, and workers. Spokne is also noted for its well-regarded medical community, both in practice and in the research capacity, as the University of Washington School of Medicine has one of the nation's top research programs. While the city of Spokane is predominantly caucasian (almost 90%), there is still a strong Native American presence, a reminder of Spokane's history as major settlement of Native American tribes prior to the 20th century.