Jefferson County, Oregon

Jefferson County was created on December 12, 1914, from a portion of Crook County. The county owes much of its agriculture prosperity to the railroad (completed in 1911), which links madras, Metolius, and Culver with the Columbia River and to the development of irrigation projects in the late 1930s.

Madras was incorporated in 1911 and has been the permanent county seat since a general election in 1916. It was soon followed by its neighbors to the south of Metolius and Culver. Rapid development in adjacent Deschutes County during the 1990s has increased the overall demand for property in Jefferson County as it has Lake Billy Chinook as a vacation hub.

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Agriculture is the predominant source of income in this county, with vegetable, grass, and flower seeds, garlic, mint, and sugar beets cultivated on some 60,000 acres of irrigated land. Jefferson County also has vast rangeland and an industrial base related to forest products. The Warm Springs Forest Products Industry is the single largest industry.

With 300 days of sunshine and low yearly rainfall, fishing, hunting, camping, boating, water-skiing, and rock hunting/climbing are major tourist activities.

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