Multnomah County Library breaks ground on new, expanded Holgate Library


Thursday, January 05, 2023

Construction will transform Holgate into one of the largest libraries in Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore––Multnomah County Library is breaking ground on one of the first of its library building projects: Holgate Library, which will be a brand new, two-story building at the same location. The new library will be triple the size of the current 6,400 square foot space to a total of 21,000 square feet — making it one of the largest libraries in Multnomah County.

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

When: Friday, January 6, 10-10:30 am

Where: Holgate Library (7905 SE Holgate Blvd, Portland, OR 97206)

The ceremonial groundbreaking represents exciting progress for community investments to transform and modernize library spaces across Multnomah County. Holgate Library supports one of the most culturally diverse areas in the region. 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:

  • Large play and learning space for children and families.
  • Dedicated teen room with space for technology, homework and creative expression.
  • Multiple flexible programming and meeting rooms.
  • 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:
    • Interior wall mural near the elevators and line work for the routed exterior trim material.
    • Exterior mural for the site enclosure wall which includes both bike parking and trash receptacles. 
  • Solar panels to help offset energy use.

Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson will join the groundbreaking celebration along with incoming District 3 Commissioner Diane Rosenbaum, Multnomah County Library Director Vailey Oehlke, Department of County Assets Director and Chief Information Officer Tracey Massey and Community Design Advocates Marih Alyn-Claire and Illona Kornienko. 

“The improvements at Holgate Library are going to be truly transformational,” said Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries. “To go from a small, 6,400 square-foot space to two stories and 21,000 square feet, it’s the perfect example of how library spaces can—and should—change and grow alongside the community.” 

“Holgate Library is a cornerstone of this diverse community,” said Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson. “To see the way it is reimagined with the support of our community and getting the attention and upgrades it deserves shows Multnomah County’s commitment to developing spaces that help people thrive.”

Bora Architecture & Interiors is leading the design of Holgate Library, with Colloqate working on community engagement. Swinerton is the General Contractor.

Holgate Library closed to begin the construction process on this approximately $27 million project on December 5, 2022. Holgate Library is scheduled to reopen in spring 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 new building as an opportunity to build great libraries and services for great communities in Multnomah County.