Jackson County Commissioner Jack Walker was being prepared for surgery at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland Wednesday afternoon to receive a liver transplant.

Jackson County Commissioner Jack Walker was being prepared for surgery at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland Wednesday afternoon to receive a liver transplant.

The 68-year-old Phoenix resident will undergo a surgery that lasts on average nine hours after getting an early morning call to drive up to Portland because a donor had been found.

"He's waited a long time for this," said his wife, Andrea.

Walker went into surgery at about 4 p.m.

While nervous about the long operation, Andrea said, "He's a tough guy and he's been through a lot already. He's got a good heart, good lungs and a good kidney."

Walker has Crohn's disease, which causes a wasting of the intestines and afflicts about 1 million Americans. In 2005, he suffered complications from surgery to remove a six-inch length of intestine.

Since then he has been diagnosed as a diabetic.

— Damian Mann