Multnomah County Library breaks ground on Midland Library expansion

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Construction will bring about new transformations for this diverse community library

PORTLAND, Ore––Multnomah County Library is breaking ground on one of the first of its library building projects: Midland Library, which will be renovated and expanded, going from 24,400 square feet to 30,000 square feet on the existing site. The renovation will allow for greater space for community gatherings as well as teen and children’s areas that allow for play and engagement. 

What: Midland Library groundbreaking ceremony as part of Multnomah County Library Capital Building Projects, brief remarks and photo opportunity

When: Friday, February 17, 2023; 10-10:30 am

Where: Midland Library (805 SE 122nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97233)

The ceremonial groundbreaking is a time to celebrate the work of transforming library spaces for communities across Multnomah County. Midland Library sees some of the highest usage of any library location in the county. To amplify the community’s ideas, Community Design Advocates (CDAs) were part of a paid program to connect with their communities about how this library can represent them. For teen spaces, project teams gathered innovative ideas and feedback through a paid teen program with Your Street, Your Voice, an organization where students learn design as a tool for social and environmental justice. 

  • Based on community input through focus groups, public meetings, surveys, workshops and more, new features will include:
  • Outdoor interactive children’s garden.
  • Large play and learning space for children and families.
  • Dedicated teen room with space for technology, homework and creative expression.
  • A larger, more diverse collection.
  • Updated technology and internet.
  • Outdoor plaza for community members to relax and connect.
  • New art that represents the community in partnership with the Regional Arts and Culture Council, including:
    • Exterior canopy
    • Interior Gathering Circle
    • Exterior sculpture
  • A Gathering Circle for community conversation. 

Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson will join the groundbreaking celebration along with Representative Earl Blumenauer, Multnomah County Library Director Vailey Oehlke and Community Design Advocates Miguel Rodriguez and Som Subedi. 

“Midland Library’s renovation and expansion will bring significant and lasting benefits to the community,” said Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries. “As one of the busiest libraries in the county, we know these updates—from a Gathering Circle for conversation and connection to new spaces for teens and children– will result in new opportunities for everyone in the community .” 

“Midland Library is my neighborhood library, and a vital part of a diverse community that deserves beautiful, functional spaces,” said Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson. “The library's upgrades, built with input from this community at multiple stages, shows how Multnomah County is working to bring people together.”

Colloqate Design is the design architect for Midland and also leads community engagement, while Bora Architecture & Interiors is the architect of record. Swinerton is the General Contractor.

Midland Library closed to begin the construction process on this approximately $31 million project on December 23, 2022. Midland Library is scheduled to reopen in summer 2024. During construction, the library encourages patrons to visit the libraries closest to them and use the many online services on the library’s website. The library will share additional updates about services on its construction closures page.    

The library looks forward to the expanded building  as an opportunity to provide great libraries and services for great communities in Multnomah County.