The city of Medford, Oregon serves as the county seat of Jackson County and has an estimated population of around 75,000 residents. The metro Medford areas consists of a population over 205,000 people, which makes it the fourth biggest metro area in Oregon. The city of Medford was named after the town of Medford, in the state of Massachusetts, the home town of David Loring, a civil engineer, who was the right-of-way agent for the California and Oregon Railroad and amongst the men charged with finding the best route for the railroad through the Rogue Valley. In the year 1883, Loring and S. L. Dolson, together with their group of surveyors, arrived in Rock Point, near present day Gold Hill. The neighboring community of Jacksonville wanted the railroad to pass between their town and Hanley Butte, but the decision was made to stake the railroad closer to Bear Creek, the location of the existing Medford.
The city's early economy was primarily driven by agriculture and timber products. The area produces pears, peaches and viticulture grapes. Medford company Harry and David Operations Corp. is the biggest direct marketer of food gifts and fruits within the country and the biggest employer in the southern part of Oregon. The company employs approximately 1,700 individuals with an additional 6,700 staff hired on a seasonal basis within the Medford area. Harry and David Operations Corp. is a local business founded during 1910.
About 460,000 people residing within Northern California and Southern Oregon look to the city of Medford as their economic center. Retail sales within the Greater Medford Area in the year 2008 totaled $7.5 billion dollars. As there are no towns of equal or bigger size within hundreds of kilometers, a lot of area residents come to the city of Medford for their medical needs, making health care a main local industry. Rogue Valley Medical Center and Providence Medford Medical Center employ more than 2,000 individuals. Lots of area residents choose the city of Medford for their retirement, making senior services and assisted living a growing part of the economy.
Other companies within Medford comprise Benchmark Maps, that produces detailed maps and atlases; Pacific International Enterprises, a film production company; and a personal computer manufacturing company, Falcon Northwest. The city of Medford is the location of the headquarters of Lithia Motors, among the biggest auto retailers within the United States.