Library capital bond projects moving full steam ahead

October 26, 2021

Thanks to the support of Multnomah County voters, Multnomah County Library is expanding several libraries and building a new library in East County, roughly equivalent to Central Library downtown. The first phases of the bond projects are moving full steam ahead, on time and on schedule. 

On October 21, the Board of County Commissioners received an update from leaders of the bond’s Program Management Office and approved the plan to move all projects forward.

In the presentation, the group detailed costs, timelines and progress in real estate acquisition and design for a new operations center; community engagement for four library projects; establishment of an oversight committee; and ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion in procurement processes.

As projects begin, there are exciting ways to get involved with listening sessions and community meetings.

General timeline for bond projects

You can view the entire project timeline. Currently, the schedule for completion of the bond projects are as follows:

  • Operations Center: Fall 2023 
  • Holgate, Midland, Albina, North Portland: Early 2023
  • East County Flagship: Early 2024 
  • Belmont, Northwest, St. Johns: Summer 2024

Preface project

The new Operations Center, also known as the Preface project, will be located in East Portland at the southwest corner of 122nd Ave. and Glisan St. on the site of a former Safeway grocery store (221 NE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230).

The first real estate purchase for the bond, this building is the heart of the library, where every item placed on hold is sorted in addition to being the first stop for new books and materials. Plus, items for outreach to schools, shelters and more will be centered here.

Hennebery Eddy Architects is leading the design of the new Operations Center with staff and community input. Fortis Construction is the general contractor, and the building is a great opportunity to use design and technology to easily provide library items to the public.

This illustration of the Operations Center exterior is courtesy of Hennebery Eddy Architects and is a preliminary design, not final.

Chapter One projects

These projects, which include Albina and North Portland as well as Holgate and Midland libraries, are starting with architecture teams led by women of color.

Albina and North Portland

Albina Library has returned to its Knott Street location for the first time in decades. North Portland Library is still at its historic location, and we look forward to working with community members and library staff on these plans. Both libraries will receive renovations and additions with guidance from the community. With community engagement currently underway into the fall of 2021, the design process is scheduled to begin after that to hear your vision for the libraries.

Community engagement also includes paid design opportunities for youth through the Youth Opportunity Design Approach program, which engages 13-18 year olds alongside the architecture teams of LEVER Architecture and Noll & Tam Architects. Participants will be a part of virtual and in-person workshops, go on field trips, use design thinking, develop design skills and have a fun time. 

Suzanne Chou, community engagement coordinator with the bond team, speaks with a library user at a recent in-person event to gather feedback on the community’s vision for Albina and North Portland libraries.

Holgate and Midland

These two libraries serve some of the most diverse communities. We’re excited to begin community and staff engagement to imagine how these libraries can expand on how they serve you. Community engagement is currently underway into the fall of 2021 for both of these libraries. Holgate will be rebuilt as a new, larger library and Midland will receive renovations and an addition.

Bora Architecture & Interiors, which has worked with Colloqate Design on multiple Portland-area projects, will design both of the libraries.

As part of the community engagement efforts, the community design advocates program is a paid opportunity which will help us make sure we are hearing their communities’ voices regularly, and reduce barriers to participation. Learn more and apply by October 30 on the library bond website! 

Share your ideas in an upcoming Zoom event for Holgate and Midland libraries so that the libraries better represent your communities and meet your needs! Meet the architecture teams as well as library staff, and let’s build the future of libraries together. Event organizers will provide Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and ASL interpretation.

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 5:45 p.m.- 7:15 p.m.

Have questions? Email Library Spaces at