Madras is a community of diversity and opportunity. Diversity can be found in a mix of agricultural and manufacturing enterprises, as well as in the cultural mix of residents. Business opportunity abounds with projected population and employment growth that is expected to be among the fastest in Oregon for much of the next decade.Originally called “The Basin” after the circular valley the city is in, it is unclear whether Madras was named in 1903 for the cotton fabric called “Madras” that originated in the city of Madras, or from the name of the city itself.
The population was 6,046 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Jefferson County. Incorporated in 1910, Madras and nearby towns of Culver and Metolius were all communities built as service centers for a growing agricultural sector and for the booming railroad industry. Later in the century, Madras experienced another economic boom with the establishment of the US Army Air Base during World War II that was and still is capable of accommodating the B-17 Flying Fortress. An Army Air Corps base was built nearby during World War II. This airfield now serves as City-County Airport. Homesteads approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of the city on Agency Plains were based on dry land wheat.