Multnomah County breaks ground for enlarged Holgate Library

Discover why this outer East Portland library site was chosen for a ground-up make-over, already in progress …

The venerable Holgate Library building will soon leveled to make way for a brand new, two-story library on the same site.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The well-used and loved Holgate Library at 7905 SE Holgate Boulevard in the Foster-Powell neighborhood is closed. In fact, the entire property has been fenced off.

But, this is actually good thing, according Multnomah County Libraries Director Vailey Oehlke. “The improvements at Holgate Library are going to be truly transformational. 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,” Oehlke remarked at the December 5th groundbreaking ceremony.

Here’s a look at what the all-new Holgate Library will look like when it opens in the fall of 2024. Courtesy of Bora Architecture

Asked how it came to be decided to rebuild Holgate Library from the ground up, Multnomah County Library Capital Bond Projects Communications Manager Liz Sauer told East Portland News, “To meet this need, and expand on the location’s role as a cultural hub, Holgate will be rebuilt at this site.

“This is because it’s in one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas of the county. The Holgate Library has become a high-traffic location, with a huge reach through its unique cultural programs.”

At the ceremonial groundbreaking are [left to right]: Department of County Assets Director and Chief Information Officer Tracey Massey; Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson; Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke; Multnomah County Commissioner Diane Rosenbaum; and Community Design Advocates Marih Allyn-Claire and Illona Kornienko. Photo by Motoya Nakamura

The day of that groundbreaking ceremony, staff began moving all of the books and other resources from the building. The furnishings and materials will go into temporary storage, while some materials may be distributed to other libraries.

The Holgate Library is now closed until fall of 2024, when it will reopen with a greatly enlarged new building at the same location.

When the library reopens in spring of 2024, Sauer told us that the new features will include:

  • A large play and learning space for children and families
  • A dedicated teen room, with space for technology, homework, and creative expression
  • Multiple flexible programming and meeting rooms
  • Updated technology and Internet
  • An outdoor plaza in which community members can relax and connect


During construction, the library encourages patrons to visit other County Library Branches closest to them, and to make use of the many online services on the library website:

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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