Roseburg was first known as Deer Creek because it was at the confluence of Deer Creek and the South Umpqua River. In 1854, voters chose Roseburg as the county seat over rival town Winchester. Rose donated three acres of land and $1,000 for the building of the courthouse, and the important buildings of Winchester were moved to Roseburg before 1860.
Deer Creek post office was established in 1852, and the name changed to "Roseburgh" in 1857. The spelling was changed to "Roseburg" in 1894.
The truck was loaded with two tons of dynamite and four-and-a-half tons of the blasting agent nitro carbo nitrate. Rutherford had parked the truck after arranging his delivery for the following morning, despite warnings given to the Pacific Powder Company two days earlier not to leave such trucks unattended or park them in "congested areas." Fourteen people died in the blast and fire and 125 were injured. Damage was estimated at ten to twelve million dollars; the Powder company was eventually made to pay $1.2 million in civil damages, but was acquitted of criminal wrongdoing.
Roseburg's downtown was rebuilt, primarily by businesses using money collected from insurance claims. The city built a new bridge over the South Umpqua River on parcels affected by the disaster. Since the incident, it is commonly referred to as the "Roseburg Blast" or simply "The Blast." In 2005, SOPTV produced a documentary examining the Blast and the experiences of those who were involved or witnessed it, entitled The Roseburg Blast: A Catastrophe and Its Heroes.
Roseburg is known for its extremely low wind velocity.
Roseburg is located near the confluence of the north and south forks of the Umpqua River and the Umpqua National Forest. By car, it is 67 miles (108 kilometers) south on I-5 from Eugene and 123 miles north of the California border.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.4 square miles (24.4 km²), of which, 9.2 square miles (23.9 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (2.02%) is water.
There were 8,237 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $40,172. Males had a median income of $32,624 versus $25,707 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,082. About 11.0% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.9% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.
There is a Greyhound bus station with connecting service to Amtrak passenger rail service. The Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad freight railway runs through Roseburg. There are two public airports, Marion E. Carl Memorial Field at the north end of town and George Felt Airport to the west. Roseburg and surrounding communities are served by Umpqua Transit, a local bus service.