Library space planning

Facts about proposed Measure 26-211, the library bond

On November 3, Multnomah County voters will have the opportunity to vote on proposed Measure 26-211, a proposed capital project bond that, if passed, would expand, modernize, rebuild and acquire land for library facilities. This proposed measure would not fund operational costs.

If passed, the proposed bond measure would cost an average of $.61 per $1000 of Assessed Value each year to property owners and a total cost of $387 million over a nine-year period.

If passed, the proposed measure would fund the following projects:

  • Enlarge and update seven branch libraries, including Albina Library, Belmont Library, Holgate Library, Midland Library, North Portland Library, Northwest Library and St. Johns Library. 
  • Build a library in East Multnomah County, similar in size to Central Library in downtown Portland. This would be the first proposed public project, planned to open in early 2025.
  • Add gigabit speed internet to all libraries.
  • Create a central materials handling and distribution center to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness.

The Board of County Commissioners referred the proposed measure to voters after a four-year process to study library space and distribution. That process showed that Multnomah County residents have access to much less library space than in other communities (about one-third the amount of a national standard of one square foot per capita). 

The library study showed that, east of Interstate 205, which is home to about 40% of the county’s population, has about 20% of total library space. If passed, the proposed measure would increase total library space county-wide by about 50%.

Processes and timelines for community input to guide building design and features are built into the timeline for each public project. If passed, the measure would create an independent oversight body and public accountability mechanisms. 

If the proposed measure does not pass,the proposed tax would not be assessed and the projects above would not be completed.

Board activity related to the proposed bond measure: January 30, 2020

Board activity related to the proposed bond measure: March 5, 2020

Board activity related to the proposed bond measure: June 25, 2020

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