TALENT/PHOENIX— In 1963 Jackson County Fire District No. 5 was incorporated as a volunteer fire department. Originally Talent Rural Fire Protection District, it served rural Talent and Phoenix operating out of one fire station. The Fire District protect-ed approximately 35 square miles.
In 1968, the District moved to 716 South Pacific Highway in Talent, annexed Barron Rural Fire District southeast of Ash-land, and added another station on Neil Creek Road. The District was now 65 square miles
By the 1970s, the District be-came JCFD No. 5 employing 12 firefighters and 25 volunteers. Other milestones included the annexation of the City of Talent (1998) and the construction of the headquarters fire station in 2004. The annexation of the City of Phoe-nix (2008) added a third fire station and a fire response area over 120 square miles.
PHOENIX—The Phoenix area was settled in about 1850 by brothers Hiram and Samuel Colver. Samuel Colver laid out the town in 1854. Early residents included Milton Lindley, who operated a sawmill that provided timbers in 1855 for a blockhouse as well as a flouring mill owned by Sylvester M. Wait. For a time, the settlement was known locally as Gasburg after a talkative employee in the kitchen serving the mill hands. Wait, who was an agent for the Phoenix Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, assigned the official name, Phoenix, to the community and, in 1857, to its post office. Waitsburg, Washington, was later named after Wait.
TALENT—A. P. Tallent, an East Tennessee native who settled in Oregon in the 1870s, platted the city in the 1880s. He wanted to name it Wagner but was over-ruled by postal officials, who preferred Talent, dropping one of the l's. The post office opened at this location in 1883. Earlier names for the settlement were Eden District and Wagner Creek.
NEIL CREEK/HWY 66—Neil Creek is located in the Rogue River basin of southern Oregon. It supports some of the most productive fishery habitats in the Bear Creek watershed. It is home to Coho salmon and other wildlife and native plant species.
Highway 66 is the gateway to Dead Indian Memorial Road and is one of the oldest trans-Cascade travel routes in southern Oregon. It connects Ashland and the Rogue River Valley with the Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument, the first U.S. National monument set aside solely for the preservation of biodiversity, and the Upper Klamath Basin. The road crosses the headwaters of Dead Indian Creek near Howard Prairie Reservoir. In the 1990s, Jackson County changed the name to Dead Indian Memorial Road, but the controversy continues.
The name of Dead Indian Creek dates to the early 1850s. Sever-al variations of the name hint at a story that settlers killed Indians on the creek, but there is no evidence to support that account. The most likely account is that Ashland-area settler Pat-rick Dunn and others discovered the bodies of several Indians in summer-encampment huts or wickiups along the meadow near the headwaters of the creek. They could have died from disease, or other Indians may have killed them as part of the bitter and ongoing war between the Rogue Valley’s Takel-ma (or Shasta) and the Klamath.
JACKSON COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT NO. 5