Bringing the vision of a one library/two branch model in Gladstone and Oak Lodge to life
On a sunny October afternoon, library lovers, community members, and city, county, and state officials gathered at 525 Portland Avenue to celebrate the future home of the Gladstone Library.
To passersby, the gathering on the empty site may have appeared peculiar— but to the people present, the day signified an exciting milestone in a years-long process.
Formerly home to the Gladstone City Hall, the building on Portland Avenue was demolished in September to make way for the new library facility. Attendees came together on the freshly leveled site to celebrate this important milestone with enthusiastic speeches, refreshments and a special sign unveiling.
“There’s nothing more that we can do to benefit our community than to make available to them free and open access to information,” Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader told guests. “[…] I believe libraries are one of the most important things we do in this country. They are the place where democracy flourishes.”
The Gladstone Library is one part of a large-scale county effort to bring a one library/two branch model to Gladstone and Oak Lodge. For years, the Gladstone and Oak Lodge areas have been in need of new, modern library facilities to meet the growing needs of their residents. The demolition of the former city hall building was the first major visible step in bringing the new Gladstone Library to life.
The new Oak Lodge Library will be built a few miles away on the site of the former Concord School owned by North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD).
Another step forward took place earlier in October when the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support construction of the Gladstone and Oak Lodge libraries, dedicating $6 million and $9 million respectively to each project. Construction dates are to be determined.
“This is just as much of lift from the community as it is from the elected officials,” Commissioner Paul Savas told the crowd of dedicated community members at the Oct. 11 ceremony. “Without you, this would not have happened.”