County Seat: 66 SE D St., Madras 97741
Phone: 541-475-4451 (General); 541-475-3317 (Court Administrator)
Population (2011): 21,845
Established: Dec. 12, 1914
Elev. at Madras: 2,242'
Area: 1,791 sq. mi.
Average Temp.: January 37.4° July 70.1°
Assessed Value: $1,428,714,661
Real Market Value: $2,321,745,390
Annual Precipitation: 10.2"
Economy: Agriculture, forest products and recreation
Points of interest
Mt. Jefferson, Warm Springs Indian Reservation, Metolius River, Black Butte, Suttle Lake, Blue Lake, Santiam Summit, Lake Billy Chinook behind Round Butte Dam, Haystack Reservoir, Priday Agate Beds
History and general information
Jefferson County was established in 1914 from a portion of Crook County. It was named for Mount Jefferson on its western boundary. The county owes much of its agricultural prosperity to the railroad, which arrived in 1911, and to the development of irrigation projects in the late 1930s. The railroad, which links Madras with the Columbia River, was completed after constant feuds and battles between two lines working on opposite sides of the Deschutes River.
Vegetable, grass and flower seeds, garlic, mint and sugar beets are cultivated on some 60,000 irrigated acres. Jefferson County also has vast acreages of rangelands and a healthy industrial base related to forest products. The Warm Springs Forest Products Industry, a multi-million dollar complex owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation—partially located in the northwestern corner of the county—is the single biggest industry. With 300 days of sunshine and a low yearly rainfall, fishing, hunting, camping, boating, water-skiing and rock hunting are popular recreations.
Commissioners—Mike Ahern (D) 2015, Wayne Fording (R) 2017, John Hatfield (R) 2015; Dist. Atty. Steven Lariche 2017; Assess. Jean McCloskey 2017; Clerk Kathleen Marston (R) 2015; Sheriff Jim Adkins (R) 2015; Surv. Gary L. DeJarnatt 2017; Treas. Deena Goss (R) 2017