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Anatta Blackmarr: With your support, residents will soon enjoy benefits of two beautiful new inviting community gathering places

Thank you, Clackamas County commissioners, who heard our community input and voted unanimously last month to allocate $9 million to the new Oak Lodge Library branch and $6 million to the new Gladstone Library branch from American Rescue Plan Act funds. RENDERING COURTESY: CLACKAMAS COUNTY - Clackamas County commissioners recently allocated $9 million to the new Oak Lodge Library branch.

Our county commissioners responded to the community's enthusiasm about our future libraries. Following the funding allocation, there was a happy, festive mood at the October celebration of the new Gladstone Library site — where residents gathered with architects and planners, and the commissioners spoke about the value of libraries and community involvement.Anatta Blackmarr

It hasn't been easy getting here. Oak Lodge and Gladstone residents have weathered many delays and troubling uncertainties since the 2008 agreement was adopted for updating libraries throughout the county. Now's the time to give these two remaining branches a burst of energy for sprinting across the finish line. Design work is close to completion — and the county is committed to allocating additional funds for construction, as the actual amount still required comes into focus.

This is a decisive moment. Be part of the advocacy. To voice your continued support for full project funding, show up at Thursday morning Board of County Commissioners meetings (in person or by Zoom), email the Commissioners at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fill out a message card at the checkout desk of the current Oak Lodge Library. Together we can bring this home.

Have you ever walked into a library and felt your spirits lift — because of the high ceiling or immense picture windows — an intimate interior garden or nature views from a comfortable reading area — or the art integrated into the space and the pleasing aesthetics of the interior? This kind of enjoyable gathering space is what our new libraries offer. They create a comfort zone and help us feel connected and at home in our communities.RENDERING COURTESY: CLACKAMAS COUNTY - The new Oak Lodge Library branch will be located at the former site of Concord Elementary School.

In November, I visited a library with a central lofty ceiling, a cozy reading area facing out onto a green space with a stream, and a library-of-things that offered ukuleles and small harps to check out the same way you would check out a book or DVD. In October, I visited a library that had a cafe in the entry lobby and a community meeting room where I enjoyed a lecture/demonstration on the relationship of flamenco dance and the opera Carmen. The importance we place on our libraries, and the funding we invest in them, is a reflection of how we see ourselves as a community.

With your support, Clackamas County residents will soon enjoy the benefits of two beautiful new inviting community gathering places, with the many dimensions modern libraries offer. Stay tuned and continue to weigh in on what you want to see in our new libraries. Construction of both branches will be coordinated and begin in 2023!RENDERING COURTESY: CLACKAMAS COUNTY - A new library branch will be located at the former site of Gladstone City Hall.RENDERING COURTESY: CLACKAMAS COUNTY - Clackamas County commissioners recently allocated $6 million to the new Gladstone Library.

Anatta Blackmarr is a volunteer member of the Clackamas County Library Advisory Board.

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