Construction underway! Why multiple libraries closed at the same time

Multnomah County Library locations are undergoing construction or renovations. Thanks to a 2020 library bond measure, your libraries are getting exciting updates. The bond will address the lack of library space east of Interstate 205 and expand some of the busiest small spaces.

Bond basics:

  • Multnomah County voters approved Measure 26-211 to expand and modernize library spaces. 
  • A bond adds an amount of money to your property taxes every year, and this one goes towards library updates.
  • The Multnomah County Library bond includes:
    • Building a new library in East Multnomah County 
    • Rebuilding Holgate Library
    • Renovations and expansion of Albina, North Portland, Midland, Belmont and St. Johns libraries
    • A new, larger Northwest Library 
    • Improvements to Capitol Hill, Central, Gregory Heights, Fairview-Columbia, Hillsdale, Hollywood, Kenton, Rockwood, Sellwood-Moreland, Troutdale and Woodstock libraries

Libraries getting basic improvements will have:

  • Automated Materials Handling (AMH) technology — helps you get materials faster
  • Updated shelving
  • New furniture, carpet, and paint — creating comfortable and welcoming spaces 

Holgate, Midland, Albina and North Portland are hubs for the diverse communities they serve. Because of this, these locations are first to be renovated. The library is providing other services and events in these areas while libraries are closed. We work hard every day to minimize the impact of short-term library closures. 

If you’ve wondered why libraries are closed simultaneously, this has to do with bond spending requirement. We want to protect your investment in the library. We have done extensive planning with facilities specialists, finance leaders, architects, construction experts and more to understand timelines, inflation and cost of materials. 

Why locations are closed at the same time:

  • Financial experts (in this case, professional cost estimators) predicted the amount of money needed for library improvements before the pandemic happened. Since 2020, inflation has affected prices on everything, including construction materials. Now we need to renovate and build new locations faster to stay on budget.
  • The terms of the bond sale require the library to spend most of the bond funds in a short amount of time. This approach maximized benefit to taxpayers and allowed for more funds to be put into library improvements.
  • A slower schedule would have netted less money for projects. It would have also included increased costs due to cost escalation, inflation and supply chain issues. 

The Framework for Future Library Spaces helped guide each project's budget and aimed to reduce taxpayer costs. By closing locations simultaneously:

  • Taxpayers get more for their money
  • The library can create better spaces with the funds available

We are committed to using public resources efficiently and building modern libraries that will be enjoyed for generations to come.