A new chapter: voters say yes to new Multnomah County Library spaces

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

New spaces will advance equity and center community input; oversight

PORTLAND, Ore. — November 3, 2020. Multnomah County voters approved Measure 26-211, a capital bond measure to expand and modernize library spaces. 

Over a nine-year period, the library will build a new “flagship” library in East Multnomah County; enlarge and update seven branch libraries, including Albina Library, Belmont Library, Holgate Library, Midland Library, North Portland Library, Northwest Library and St. Johns Library; add gigabit speed internet to all libraries, and construct a central materials handling and distribution center to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness.

The plan will increase total space in the current set of cramped library buildings by about 50%, beginning with the East County Flagship as the first public project. That library will be similar in size to Central Library downtown and is estimated to open in early 2025. Each new library project will begin with a robust community engagement and input process to determine design and features. The measure includes mechanisms for audits and public oversight. 

“Thank you, Multnomah County voters, for expressing your trust and confidence in Multnomah County Library! Thanks to you, our community will enjoy larger and more equitable library spaces for generations to come. Your library system will get right to work to create these new spaces with and for the community.” - Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke.

“Our libraries have always been a cornerstone of this community and this measure sets the stage for a brighter future,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “As we move through and eventually out of the COVID-19 pandemic, our libraries will be a key element to help our community recover and thrive.”

The library will post continuing updates about the bond at multcolib.org.