Josephine County, Oregon

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Josephine County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. According to Oregon Geographic Names, the county is probably named after a stream in the area called Josephine Creek, which in turn is probably named after Virginia Josephine Rollins Ort. In 2000, its population was 75,726. As of July 1, 2009, the population was 83,665, a 10.5% increase from the population in 2000. The majority of that growth occurred in Grants Pass, the county seat. [1]



Most of the commercial activity during the territorial period centered on gold mining and the supply of provisions to miners. Miners had been active in the Rogue and Illinois valleys since 1851. By the late 1850s, however, gold mining was beginning to decline and population dwindled as well. In 1859, gold was discovered along the Fraser River in British Columbia and numerous people left Josephine County to search for valuable claims there.

Josephine County shares the Rogue Valley and Applegate Valley wine appellations with Jackson County. The U.S. government owns the majority of the land within the county boundaries, with the Bureau of Land Management owning 28% of the lands within the county boundaries, most of which are Oregon and California Railroad lands, and the Forest Service owning 39%.

Grants Pass is now the departure point for most Rogue River scenic waterway guided fishing and boat trips. The Illinois River, one of the Rogue's tributaries, has also been designated a scenic waterway.

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