Operations Center in East Portland first real estate acquisition for Multnomah County Library Capital Bond Projects

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Building will serve as beating heart for library services, pave way for additional bond projects

Portland, Ore.--The Multnomah County Library Capital Bond Project Team is pleased to announce, after considering several locations for the new Operations Center through a thoughtful, strategic process, a location has been finalized in East Portland at the southwest corner of 122nd Ave. and Glisan St. on the site of a former Safeway grocery store (the official address is 221 NE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230). 

As the first real estate acquisition for the bond, the Operations Center is the beating heart of many library services, where new books and materials come into the library system, where many items placed on hold are sorted and transferred and where specialized materials and services for outreach to schools, retirement communities, shelters and other settings are centered.

Thanks to the resources and support of Multnomah County’s Department of County Assets as well as the county’s current contracted realtor, CBRE, we identified the Safeway building as the ideal property. This is based on the current state of the building and its renovation needs, access to public transportation, parking for staff and county vehicles, and close proximity to Interstate 84 and Interstate 205. Additionally, the centralized location provides an opportunity to better serve all populations through the library’s programmatic work. 

With Hennebery Eddy Architects leading the design of the new Operations Center with robust staff input and community outreach, and Fortis Construction as the General Contractor, the building will provide a pathway to greater efficiency. As envisioned in the Framework For Future Library Spaces, Multnomah County Library has the opportunity to use design and technology to streamline materials handling, getting library items to you efficiently while ultimately making staff available for more public-facing customer service.

To this end, several workgroups housed in the new building will have full use of Automated Materials Handling technology, which will organize and circulate materials, cutting down on the need for staff to perform repetitive, laborious tasks so their work can be more focused on community-facing needs in addition to library holds being filled faster. This technology will be especially impactful for Sort Center staff who circulate library materials to ensure they get to their intended location for the community’s use. Other workgroups include those who provide programs, services and materials that support early childhood, school-age youth, adult literacy, incarcerated teens and adults, houseless shelters, new immigrants and more. 

Additionally, the Operations Center is undergoing an extensive review of how the building can be as sustainable as possible with input from architects, sustainability experts, library staff, construction experts and the county’s sustainability office. With plans for multiple solar panels on the building’s rooftop, the goal is to make this a zero energy building in addition to attaining LEED Gold certification. 

The Library Capital Bond Projects Team is looking forward to the new building as an opportunity to build great libraries and services for great communities in Multnomah County. 

Contact: Liz Sauer, Multnomah County Library Capital Bond Projects Communications Manager, 608.469.9250, elizabeths@multcolib.org