Josephine County was created by the Territorial Legislature on January 22, 1856, from the western half of Jackson County. It was the nineteenth, and last, county created before statehood. Josephine County was named for Josephine Rollins, the first white woman to settle in southern Oregon.
Sailor Diggins was named the first county seat of Josephine County in 1856. Kerbyville was next chosen by the electorate, as the county seat, in 1857. In 1886 the county seat was relocated to Grants Pass, a newly built town along the recently completed railroad.
In 1981, the Legislative Assembly joined Oregon's district and circuit courts into a unified state-funded court system. Effective January 1, 1983, the courts operated under the constitutional authority of the Oregon Judicial Department. Effective January 15, 1998, the legislature abolished the district court and merged their judges and jurisdiction with the circuit court to form a single, unified trial court. There are 27 judicial districts in Oregon.
As a separate and independent branch of government, we provide fair and accessible justice services that protect the rights of individuals, preserve community welfare and inspire public confidence. We hope this website encourages you to learn more about Oregon's courts, the people we serve, and the gifted and dedicated people who work and volunteer in our courts.