At one time, county courts existed in all 36 Oregon counties. The title “county judge” is retained in some counties as the title of the chair of the board of county commissioners. There is no requirement that county judges be members of the bar.
Where a county judge’s judicial function still exists, it is limited to juvenile and probate matters and occupies only a portion of the judge’s time, which is primarily devoted to nonjudicial administrative responsibilities as a member of the county board.
Only seven counties, all east of the Cascades, now have county judges who retain any judicial authority: Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler (both juvenile and probate jurisdiction); Grant, Harney, and Malheur (probate only); and Morrow (juvenile only).