County was created on December 12, 1914, out of
territory that was once part of Crook County.
The county was named after Mount Jefferson, the
second highest peak in Oregon with an elevation
of 10,497 feet, which marks the county's western
skyline. The county is bounded on the north by
Wasco County, on the east by Wheeler and Crook
Counties, on the south by Deschutes County, and
on the west by Linn and Marion Counties. The county
encompasses 1791 square miles.
named after the city in India, was incorporated
in 1911 and serves as the county seat. A new county
courthouse was built in 1961. County government
is administered by a three-member board of commissioners.
county's population at its first federal census
in 1920 was 3,211. The 2000 population of 19,009
represented a 39% increase from 1990.
industries are agriculture, forest products, and
recreation. The fertile North Unit Irrigation
District in the central part of the county produces
seed, potatoes, hay, and mint. The eastern part
of the county has dry wheat farming and grazing
land for cattle, and the western part is timber
country. The Warm Springs Forest Product Industry
owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs
Reservation is the single largest industry. The
reservation is located on portions of land in
four counties including 236,082 acres in the northwestern
corner of Jefferson County.
county owes much of its agricultural prosperity
to the arrival of the railroad in 1911 and to
the development of irrigation projects in the
late 1930s. The railroad, linking Madras with
the Columbia River, was completed after constant
feuds and battles between two lines working opposite
sides of the Deschutes River. Jefferson County
of Oregon State Archives