Holgate Library history

Holgate Library opened in its current location in 1971, replacing the Arleta and Lents branch libraries, which had been serving this region of Southeast Portland since the early 1900s. The library was renovated in 2000. 

In 2020, Multnomah County voters approved a capitol bond project to build and modernize library buildings. Holgate Library is being rebuilt on its current site. The new Holgate Library will reopen in 2024.


2024 Holgate Library is scheduled to reopen. 

2022 Holgate Library closed for construction on December 5.

2020 In November 2020, Multnomah County voters approved a $387 million capital bond to build and transform library buildings across the county. Holgate Library is set to be completely rebuilt into a new two-story building. The new building will be triple the size of the original and one of the largest in Multnomah County.

2000 The library closed for renovation in March and reopened on October 17. 

1996 Multnomah County voters passed a $29 million general obligation bond measure to improve technology in all branch libraries and to renovate deteriorating branch libraries. 

1971 The new Holgate Library opened at 7905 SE Holgate Blvd.

1967 A further study provided a recommendation to consolidate Arleta Library and Lents Library into a larger, more centrally located building. Interested citizens and community organizations assisted in selecting a location.

1960s The Library Association of Portland began a study comparing existing library locations to the most recent population changes. They found the public preferred to access broader collections in larger buildings that could be spaced farther apart.

1948 Arleta Library had an oil furnace installed to replace the wood-burning furnace. Staff no longer had to stoke the wood fire as part of their daily work.

1941 As Portland recovered from the Depression, Arleta Library offered additional neighborhood services, such as a preschool clinic run by visiting nurses.

1918 Arleta Library opened at 4420 SE 64th St. in early September 1918. The new building was larger than Lents Library, with a capacity for 9,000 books and room for programs.

1914 The Lents sub-branch library opened to the public at 5827 E 91st Ave. near Foster Road. This new building was a vast improvement over the deposit station. It had space for 5,000 books, trained library staff and space for patrons to sit and read.

1911 The Carnegie Corporation of New York donated money to build seven libraries in Portland neighborhoods, including one in Arleta. Unfortunately, plans for Arleta Library were discontinued when the Carnegie gift was reduced from seven locations to five.

1906 The population in what was then considered outer SE Portland continued to grow, and in 1906 another deposit station was set up in the Arleta neighborhood. 

1904 A “deposit station” opened in a drug store in the Lents neighborhood. According to the Library Association of Portland’s 1904 annual report, the Lents station “promised to be one of the most successful” when 43 books were picked up in only two weeks.