First look at the future East County Library

New details and design renderings paint the picture of Multnomah County Library’s highly anticipated “vibrant, diverse location.”

A design rendering shows a building with timber beams and a slatted trellis at the corner of a busy public area.

The Entry Plaza at Northwest Division Street and Ava Lane.

Design rendering by Adjaye Associates via Holst Architecture

Work is moving forward on what will be the second-largest library in Multnomah County.

New details and first-draft architectural renderings released last week are giving us an early look at the future East County Library. Funded by a $387 million bond measure approved by voters in November 2020, the new location marks a significant step forward in the county’s push to invest in library buildings for the first time in decades.

The timing of the project also underscores a need for public spaces and services as the population swells. In a release, Multnomah County Library said the new, 95,000-sqft flagship location “will be easily accessible for the 40% of Multnomah County residents who live east of I-205.”

East County Library PDX Portland

A view of East County Library at dusk, looking toward Mount Hood.

Design rendering by Adjaye Associates via Holst Architecture

Multnomah County and TriMet have their sights set on 1297 NW Eastman Pkwy. in Gresham — the current site of the Gresham City Hall Park and Ride — for the new library. They hope to complete the acquisition by this spring.

International design architect Adjaye Associates and Portland-based prime architect of record Holst Architecture produced the project’s first renderings based on community feedback. The proposed designs are very PNW, showcasing exposed timber, rich wood tones, and pale neutrals.

Here are some of the features we might see when the East County Library is completed:

  • A large auditorium for cultural events, lectures, performances, and family programs
  • Dedicated spaces for children and teens
  • An entry plaza located along the MAX Blue Line route, with nearby stops for bus lines 2, 21, and 82
  • A second entrance at the library’s “South Civic Hub” and outdoor area
  • Reading and computer areas that utilize natural light
A design rendering shows a spacious indoor area with natural light and many people sitting in chairs, talking, reading, or looking at computers.

The reading and computer areas are intended to offer “a feeling of community.”

Design rendering by Adjaye Associates via Holst Architecture

There’s still time to weigh in on the East County Library’s look. The conceptual designs may be updated based on community feedback once the next development phase starts in March. Construction is slated to begin in early 2024, with completion in the fall of 2025.

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