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Oregon Counties

There are thyirty-six counties in the state of Oregon. The Oregon Constitution does not explicitly provide for county seats.

Jackson County, Oregon

Jackson County Education, Geography, and HistoryJackson County, Oregon Courthouse

Jackson County is a county located in the state of Oregon. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 203,206. The county seat is Medford. The county is named for Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.

Jackson County comprises the Medford, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Jackson County Name

The county was named after President Andrew Jackson.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Jackson County History

The Territorial Legislature created Jackson County on January 12, 1852, from the southwestern portion of Lane County and the unorganized area south of Douglas and Umpqua Counties. The county was named after President Andrew Jackson.

Jackson County's borders originally ran south to California, west to the Pacific Ocean, east to Lane County, and north to Umpqua and Douglas Counties. Over the years, the boundaries of the county were changed reflecting the creation of Coos, Curry, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, and Wasco Counties. Currently, Jackson County includes 2,801 square miles and its boundaries extend to California in the south, Josephine County in the west, Douglas County in the north, and Klamath County in the east.

Modoc, Shasta, Rogue River, and Umpqua Indian tribes lived within the present boundaries of Jackson County. Moreover, in the early 1850s, both the Klickitats from the north and the Deschutes from the south raided and settled the area. Gold discoveries in the Rogue and Illinois River valleys in the 1850s and completion of a wagon road connecting the county with California to the south and Douglas County to the north led to an influx of non-native settlers. Conflict between the Americans and Indians led to war in 1856 resulting in hundreds of casualties and the removal of the Rogue River tribe to the Siletz Reservation. During the next two years, several small bands of Indians were transferred to the Grande Ronde Reservation west of Salem.

Jacksonville was designated as the first county seat in 1853. However, the city declined due to diminishing returns in the local goldfields and the construction in the 1880s of the Oregon and California Railroad, which bypassed the city. Medford, located five miles east of Jacksonville, benefited from the location of the railroad and the accompanying commerce and development. Jacksonville fended off suggestions to move the county seat until 1927 when Medford was finally selected as the county seat.

The first county courthouse was a white two story frame structure built in 1854 in Jacksonville. In 1883 a two-story red brick building was built and served as the courthouse until the county government moved to Medford in 1927. A new courthouse was dedicated in 1932 and continues to house county offices in Medford. In 1978 the current three-story courthouse was constructed.

The first county officials were appointed in March, 1853. These officers included three county commissioners, a county clerk, a sheriff, a prosecuting attorney, and a treasurer. An assessor and surveyor were added later.

The voters of Jackson County approved a home rule charter at the general election, November 7, 1978. The primary organizational change was a governing body consisting of a board of three commissioners, which continues to constitute the legislative and principal policy making agency of the county. The board of commissioners also oversees the administration of the affairs of the county. The elected officials included the county commissioners, the sheriff, the assessor, the treasurer, the clerk and the surveyor. The treasurer's duties were assumed by the finance director as a result of a 1999 charter amendment.

Jackson County's 2000 population of 181,269 represented a 23.83% increase over 1990.

The county's principal industries are lumber, agriculture, manufacturing, and recreation. Its major points of interest include the Shakespearean Festival, Historic Jacksonville, Southern Oregon State College, the Peter Britt Music Festival, the Rogue River, Lithia Park, and the Crater Lake Highway.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,802 square miles (7,260 km2), of which 2,784 square miles (7,210 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (0.6%) is water. A portion of the Umpqua National Forest is in Jackson County.

Located entirely within Jackson County is Bear Creek and its watershed, a tributary of the Rogue River. The population centers of Medford, Ashland, Phoenix, Talent, and Central Point are located along the stream. It connects with the Rogue River near the Upper and Lower Table Rock lava formations.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Josephine County (west)
  • Klamath County (east)
  • Douglas County (north)
  • Siskiyou County, California (south)


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