Jackson County, Oregon

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Jackson County, Oregon
Jackson County Courthouse (Jackson County, Oregon scenic images) (jacDA0008).jpg
Jackson County Courthouse
Seal of Jackson County, Oregon
Map of Oregon highlighting Jackson County
Location in the state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded January 12, 1852
Seat Medford
Largest city Medford
 • Total 2,802 sq mi (7,257 km2)
 • Land 2,785 sq mi (7,213 km2)
 • Water 17 sq mi (44 km2), 0.86%
 • Total 208,545
 • Density 73/sq mi (28.1/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Website www.co.jackson.or.us

Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 203,206.[1] As of July 1, 2013, the population of the county was estimated to have grown to 208,545.[2] The county is named for Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.[3] There are 11 incorporated cities and 34 unincorporated communities in Jackson County; the largest is Medford,[4] which has been the county seat since 1927.[5]


Modoc, Shasta, Takelma, Latgawa, and Umpqua Indian tribes are all native to the region of present Jackson County. In the early 1850s, both the Klickitats from the north and the Deschutes from the south raided and settled the area.

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. It included lands which now lie in Coos, Curry, Josephine, Klamath and Lake Counties. Gold discoveries in the Illinois River valley and the Rogue River valley near Jacksonville in 1852, and the 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 miners and Native Americans led to war in 1853, which continued intermittently until the final defeat of the last band under chiefs John and George by a combined force of regular army and civilians May 29, 1856 at Big Bend on the Illinois River. The Native Americans had received the worse of the fighting throughout this conflict, and as they began to surrender, they were herded to existing reservations, beginning in January 1856 when one group was marched to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation west of Salem. Over the following months, other groups were forced to leave until by May 1857 almost all of the Shasta, Takelma, and Latgawas tribes had been relocated to the Siletz Reservation, where they remained.

Jacksonville was designated as the first county seat in 1853. However, Jacksonville declined due to diminishing returns in the local goldfields and the construction in the 1880s of the Oregon and California Railroad. This railroad bypassed Jacksonville and instead went through Medford, located five miles (8 km) east of Jacksonville. Medford's prospects improved because of the location of the railroad and the accompanying commerce and development as Jacksonville continued its steady decline. Jacksonville fended off suggestions to move the county seat until 1927 when Medford was finally selected as the county seat.

In March 2004, Jackson County became the first of an eventual 35 counties in Oregon to implement a voluntary plan of fireproofing homes situated on properties zoned as part of the forestland-urban interface. This requires homeowners to maintain a 30' or greater firebreak around their structures, and affects 12,000 homeowners. In 2007 this plan becomes mandatory for many landowners, under threat of liability if their property is involved in a fire.

On May 15, 2007, residents voted not to reopen the county's 15 libraries, which had been closed since April 6 due to a shortage of funds.[6] This was the largest library closure in the history of the United States.[7] The libraries were reopened, with reduced hours, on October 24, 2007.[8]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,802 square miles (7,257.1 km2), of which 2,785 square miles (7,213.1 km2) is land and 17 square miles (44.0 km2) (0.59%) is water.[9] 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.[10] 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.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Campground in Valley of the Rogue State Park on the banks of the Rogue River adjacent to Interstate 5.[11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,736
1870 4,778 27.9%
1880 8,154 70.7%
1890 11,455 40.5%
1900 13,698 19.6%
1910 25,756 88.0%
1920 20,405 −20.8%
1930 32,918 61.3%
1940 36,213 10.0%
1950 58,510 61.6%
1960 73,962 26.4%
1970 94,533 27.8%
1980 132,456 40.1%
1990 146,389 10.5%
2000 181,269 23.8%
2010 203,206 12.1%
Est. 2013 208,545 2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 181,269 people, 71,532 households, and 48,427 families residing in the county. The population density was 65 people per square mile (25/km²). There were 75,737 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.65% White, 0.40% Black or African American, 1.09% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 2.88% from other races, and 2.91% from two or more races. 6.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.4% were of German, 12.9% English, 10.2% Irish and 8.8% United States or American ancestry according to Census 2000. 92.7% spoke only English at home, while 5.6% spoke Spanish.

Of the 71,532 households, 30.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.20% were married couples living together, 10.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of one individual, 11.00% being a person who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.95.

The age distribution of the county's population was 24.40% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 25.50% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 16.00% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,461, and the median income for a family was $43,675. Males had a median income of $32,720 compared to $23,690 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,498. 8.90% of families and 12.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.30% of those under age 18 and 6.90% of those age 65 or over.


The county's principal industries are healthcare, agriculture, lumber, manufacturing, and tourism.[citation needed]

Jackson County has over 10,000 acres (40 km2) of orchards and shares with Josephine County the Rogue Valley and Applegate wine appellations.

Soapstone, a substance used in art sculpture, is mined in Jackson County.[14]

Points of interest[edit]

Bear Creek Greenway[edit]

Main article: Bear Creek Greenway

The Bear Creek Greenway is the area on both side of Bear Creek running from Ashland to Central Point. The Greenway's most popular feature is the bike path which runs from Ashland north towards Medford. Eventually it will be a 21-mile long paved link between Ashland and Central Point. The bike path is very popular with cyclists and skaters, especially during the warmer spring and summer months.[15]

Oregon Vortex[edit]

Main article: Oregon Vortex

Jackson County is home to the Oregon Vortex, a roadside attraction located in Gold Hill. It is an example of a gravity hill; the attraction contains several demonstrations of what are claimed to be phenomenons relating to the surrounding area, but skeptics would argue to be optical illusions.[16][17]


Incorporated cities[edit]

Unincorporated communities and CDPs[edit]

Former communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Population Estimates for Oregon and Its Counties" (PDF). Portland State University. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 167. 
  4. ^ "About Jackson County". Jackson County, Oregon. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  5. ^ "About Medford". Mail Tribune. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  6. ^ Mann, Damian; County library levy fails handily at the Mail Tribune; written May 16, 2007; retrieved February 4, 2008
  7. ^ May, Meredith; Largest library closure in U.S. looms at the San Francisco Chronicle; written March 4, 2007; retrieved February 4, 2008
  8. ^ Mann, Damian; Libraries will start to open Oct. 24 at the Mail Tribune; written October 9, 2007; retrieved February 4, 2008
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Bear Creek Watershed Assessment - Phase 2". Rogue Valley Council of Governments. December 2001. p. 9. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
  11. ^ Gumprecht Bannan, Jan (2002). Oregon State Parks. The Mountaineers Books. p. 150. ISBN 0-89886-794-0. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  14. ^ St. John, James; Soapstone at the Oregon State University; retrieved February 4, 2008
  15. ^ http://www.bearcreekgreenway.com/index.asp
  16. ^ Oregon Vortex official website. Retrieved December 2008.
  17. ^ Oregon No-Vortex. Retrieved December 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°25′N 122°44′W / 42.42°N 122.74°W / 42.42; -122.74