The first Chamber in the United States was formed in 1768. Chambers are longstanding institutions with a proven track record of “Helping Business Succeed.”
The Chamber of Medford & Jackson County was first organized in 1895 as the Medford Board of Trade and incorporated into the Greater Medford Chamber of Commerce in 1919.
The Chamber supported the county to buy land in south Medford where the Jackson County Fairgrounds were located. Barber Field, as it was called, is where the State of Oregon’s first airstrip was located and where Oregon’s first air mail was delivered.
The Chamber passed a bond issued to build a new airport, which was dedicated in 1930. The Chamber was also instrumental in helping move the courthouse from Jacksonville to Medford in 1933.
Chamber President Glenn Jackson led the effort to have Camp White located here, which led to a population boom. After the war, Chamber leaders organized investors and bought the Camp White land, which is known today as White City.
The Chamber, along with the Community Hospital Board, enlisted Standford Research Institute to study the area, and determined a need for new medical facilities. The Chamber raised major funds and in 1956, Rogue Valley Medical Center was under construction.
The Chamber was active in the development of a new high school, in converting Camp White hospital into the VA Domiciliary, and in construction of the new city hall and federal building. After the floods of 1964, The Chamber led the Rogue Basin Flood Control Project, which built the Applegate and Lost Creek dams.
In the early 70’s Chamber Members became intimately engaged in the issues of forestry, land use and environmental issues impacting the area. In 1975 realizing the need to support the tourism industry the Chamber lead the campaign for a 6 percent lodging tax. The money raised would be used to support the general fund of the City of Medford and support visitor promotion and services. Not popular by all members and some in the community, the Chamber remained committed to the vision that tourism development was critical for a more balanced economy. The courage proved worth the effort as tourism is now a leading sector in Medford and in Jackson County.
In the 80’s, with the leadership of Executive Vice President & CEO Bill Haas, The Chamber of Medford -Jackson County became the second largest Chamber in the State of Oregon. Coming out of the recession of the early 80’s, The Chamber and its Members focused on economic diversity and turned their attention to controlling taxation and regulation. The Chamber's leadership is honored when VP/CEO Bill Haas becomes Chairman of the Oregon Chamber Executives.
The 90’s was a time of celebration and transition for The Chamber. Early in the 90’s, The Chamber tackled Workman’s Comp reform. In 1995 The Chamber launched the Drugs Don’t Work Here campaign with Southern Oregon Drug Awareness (SODA). The Chamber also celebrated our 75th anniversary. In 1999, Chamber Executive Vice President & CEO Bill Haas retires and the Chamber Board hands over the reins to former legislative staffer and at that time, Chamber Marketing Director, Brad Hicks
In the early 2000s, Chamber staff and fellow members set out to balance the infrastructure funding balance that had been big city focused for too long, resulting in the North and South I-5 Interchanges, 17 City of Medford street projects, the Fern Valley Interchange and funding for the Highway 62 bypass.
In 2005, The Chamber and its members joined forces again to create more educational opportunity by taking the torch to help raise the matching funds for the SOU/RCC Higher Education Center. The Chamber helped fight off a meals tax in Jacksonville and Medford, and supported an increase in the lodging tax to buy the property for US Cellular Community Park.
During the 2008 recession, The Chamber closed one afternoon each week to work for free at member businesses. Staff got to detail cars, set up research libraries, did some landscaping and cleaned some livestock stalls, among other efforts asked by Chamber members.
In 2012, Travel Medford expands The Chamber's commitment to tourism, and in 2013 together The Chamber and Travel Medford create the Southern Oregon Sports Commission.
In the late 2019, The Chamber helps fend off the gross receipts tax, and is honored when Governor Brown considers President & CEO Brad Hicks to become Secretary of State.