To settle the confusion surrounding the county's plans to open a new library in North Portland, let's get the first rumor off the table: The current North Portland Library on Killingsworth Street isn't going anywhere.
Voters approved a tax levy in 2006 to provide revenue for two brand new libraries in the county, one in between the current North Portland and St. Johns libraries and one in Troutdale.
Patricia Welch, North Portland Branch manager, says she's excited about a new library opening in North Portland. She brushes aside any fears that a new location will cause a drop in activity on Killingsworth. Rather, she says, a new location usually draws people who live close by, who may not have had the will or time to travel to a location further away. Welch also knows of many people who travel to various locations to experience different offerings and amenities.
"People don't limit themselves to one branch," she said.
June Mikkelsen, library renovation manager, said the location will be decided with the help of public input. The library will be leasing the space instead of buying a property – a practice the library has pioneered in several other smaller libraries. Four locations are under discussion: Hope Meadows, near the John Bell School; 8226 N. Denver Ave. in Kenton; A yet unbuilt facility on the corner of North Willis Boulevard and Bradon Street; and a Trimet-owned building at 2133 N. Argyle in Kenton.
Mikkelsen said it's too early to know which site might be more suitable for the new library. The next public meetings are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11 at the North Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St. from 6 to 8 p.m.; and Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Historic Kenton Firehouse, 8105 N. Bandon St. from 6 to 8 p.m.
Although the space will be leased, Mikkelsen anticipates entering into a long-term 10- year lease with renewals every five years after that. Building operations will cost about $750,000 a year, and the library plans on spending $500,000 on their opening day collection of materials.
The new North Portland library will be Multnomah County's third new library since 2001, when Fairview-Columbia and the Northwest locations opened – the first new locations since the 1970s.