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Renovations prompting the closure are part of the county's 2020 building bond.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Multnomah County Central Library at 801 S.W. 10th Ave. in Portland.The Multnomah County Central Library will close for three months starting Aug. 1 to allow major renovations at the downtown Portland building.

The renovations are partly funded by the county's $387 million 2020 library building bond. The Central Library projects also will draw on funds from Prosper Portland-issued grants, Library Capital Improvement Plan funds and Library District Capital Reserve funds.

Bond projects include building a new 95,000-square-foot East County Flagship Library, expanding seven libraries and renovating 11 others, including the Central Library.

The Central Library project will include expanding existing restrooms and adding new ones, creating two new outdoor public terraces and improving access for people with disabilities.

Ahead of the library's full closure, some construction began last month, limiting access to the building's eastern sidewalk and street parking. The closure will last until Nov. 1.

"The library will be closed during construction to decrease longer disruptions of service by completing multiple projects, speeding the construction work, and to lower overall costs for Multnomah County residents," library officials said in a statement. "In the coming years, Central Library will receive a number of updates and improvements that will make the library a more accessible space for all library patrons."

Other libraries will stay open during the Central Library's closure. The three closest libraries are the Northwest Library at 2300 N.W. Thurman St., the Albina Library at 216 N.E. Knott St. and the Belmont Library at 1038 S.E. César E. Chávez Blvd.

Libraries slated for later bond projects also are expected to see closures or disruptions in the future.

Although visitor numbers dropped dramatically during the pandemic, more than 240,000 people still patronized the Central Library from July 2021 through last month, according to county data. Across all locations, county libraries checked out or renewed 12.2 million items and were visited online or in person 6.4 million times in 2020-2021.

Libraries also serve as public spaces that provide some basic resources to homeless people such as restrooms, power outlets and Wi-Fi at no cost.

Particularly in recent years, Multnomah County libraries have existed as places for vulnerable people to escape extreme heat waves. During the record-breaking "heat dome" in June 2021, county officials reported that 7,610 people accessed library cooling centers.

This year, the Central, Holgate and Gresham libraries offered extended hours, staying open until 8 p.m. on June 25 and June 26, when temperatures in Portland reached nearly 100 degrees. Sixty-seven people were still present at the libraries at 7 p.m. those days, according to county officials.


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