Construction at City Hall site dependent on May 15 vote; Concord site to be considered in tandem with other options

Clackamas County officials are closely watching the results of Gladstone's library measure before moving forward with planning for two new libraries: one in Oak Lodge and one in the city of Gladstone.

County officials would operate both libraries, in a system modeled after Sandy's two-branch system.

Paul SavasBut constructing Gladstone's library is dependent on successful passage of Ballot Measure 3-530 on May 15 to eliminate a city-charter prohibition on using more than $1 million in city general funds for the library. If approved, the city would commit $200,000 annually to library services, with an approximately 3 percent yearly increase tied to increasing property tax revenue over 20 years.

Clackamas County commissioners held a policy session April 3 to discuss the timeline for planning the two libraries. During the session, Commissioner Paul Savas, who supports the passage of the Gladstone measure, said he appreciated the fact that there is flexibility in the timeline, in case there's a bump in the road like the failure of the city's ballot measure.

Gladstone is hoping to build its library at the current City Hall location on Portland Avenue. As for the unincorporated area, Oak Lodge Library Director Mitzi Olson said the county will not necessarily build its new library at North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District's recently acquired Concord Elementary School property in Oak Grove.

County officials are planning to conduct a library site analysis, which will include an evaluation of all potential library site locations for comparison. Olson said the county also will consider the suitability of nearby parklands owned by NCPRD.

County commissioners on April 3 approved a staff recommendation to proceed with a combined Concord and Library Preliminary Planning Process with a joint task force of stakeholders to explore the possibilities of a new library at the Concord site.

Olson said forming these committees will be somewhat complicated since there are several layers of overlapping governmental districts involved. She said the county will seek input from constituents of both the city and Oak Lodge's library service areas, which includes a large unincorporated population. NCPRD will need to weigh in, which excludes the city of Gladstone but includes an even larger unincorporated area and the city of Milwaukie. Then there are the constituents of the countywide interests in the spending of county library district funds on the plan.

After a community-needs assessment and Concord property analysis, county officials hope to begin the development of master plans for both library sites at the end of 2019.

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Raymond Rendleman
Editor, Clackamas Review/Oregon City News
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