The biggest library building in Multnomah County will close for three months this fall to undergo major improvements as part of a massive construction bond passed by voters in 2020.
Eight of the county’s libraries are expected to undergo renovations in the coming years, and the county also has plans to build a new flagship library in east county. (It’s still searching for a site.)
Central Library is a 120,000-square-foot building in downtown Portland, the biggest in the county’s library system. It was built in 1913.
Renovations will include new outdoor public terraces, expanded restrooms and easier access to the building in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Central Library also serves a secondary purpose, as many libraries across the city do: as a safe, warm reprieve for those living on the streets of downtown. In recent years, librarians and other county employees have raised concerns about their safety as untreated mental illness and addiction worsen on Portland’s streets.