Hillsdale Library

The Hillsdale Library is a branch of the Multnomah County Library, located in Hillsdale, Portland, Oregon.[1] The branch offers the Multnomah County Library catalog of two million books, periodicals and other materials.[1] The original library building at this location opened in 1957 and was replaced by a new building on the same site in 2004. The new library, a green building designed to minimize environmental impacts, has 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) of floor space and a storage capacity of 75,000 volumes.[2]

Hillsdale Library
Hillsdale Library - Portland, Oregon.JPG
Library exterior, 2011
Hillsdale Library is located in Portland, Oregon
Hillsdale Library
Location in Portland, Oregon
General information
Address1515 Southwest Sunset Boulevard
Town or cityPortland, Oregon
CountryUnited States
Coordinates45°28′47″N 122°41′40″W / 45.47972°N 122.69444°W / 45.47972; -122.69444Coordinates: 45°28′47″N 122°41′40″W / 45.47972°N 122.69444°W / 45.47972; -122.69444
OpenedMay 22, 1957
RenovatedMarch 8, 2004
OwnerMultnomah County Library
Technical details
Floor area12,000 square feet (1,100 m2)
Design and construction
Architecture firmThomas Hacker and Associates
Structural engineerDegenkolb Engineers
Main contractorJames W. Fowler Co.
Hillsdale Library


In 1913, the Multnomah County Library opened a small deposit station in Southwest Portland. It held a collection of 30 to 50 books and was easier for nearby residents to get to than the main library downtown. Later in the same year, a South Portland sub-branch of the library, larger than the deposit station, opened at First and Hooker streets. This sub-branch was replaced in 1921 by a new building, at Second Avenue and Hooker Street, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. After large highways were built through the neighborhood, the South Portland branch served a declining population, and its open days were reduced to three a week in 1940. At the same time, a reading room in Multnomah, another southwest Portland neighborhood, was enlarged to accommodate a growing population.[2]

By 1957, as the populations in the southwest part of the city continued to grow, the sub-branch in Multnomah was closed and a Southwest Hills branch was opened in Hillsdale at 1515 Southwest Sunset Boulevard. Responding to petitions from the community, the library board agreed to change the branch name to Hillsdale Library in 1986. In 1988, voters approved bonds to improve neighborhood libraries, including the Hillsdale branch. After many public discussions, the Multnomah County Commission voted to build a new library on the site of the existing building.[3] Those discussions included a proposal to relocate the library into a mixed-use development.[4] In March 2002, the old building was demolished.[3]

Construction on the new structure began in 2002, and the new Modernist structure, built to reduce its environmental impact, opened in 2004.[2][5] It was the last of a string of renovations costing $34 million undertaken by the Multnomah County Library system in the early 2000s, which an Oregonian article called "the widest rollout of civic architecture since the creation of Portland's first citywide library system in the 1910s."[6] The new $4.1 million building doubled the size of the library to 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) and added parking below.[3] Initially, officials hoped to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver status for the new library, but instead were able to gain gold status in 2004 after the structure was completed.[3][7][8] Features of the new building include items such as a 20-foot (6.1 m) high ceiling in the reading room,[3] a tubular steel roof,[9] and 10-square-foot (0.93 m2) skylights.[10]

Thomas Hacker and Associates were the Hillsdale Library's architects, along with all 16 of the other branches redesigned or renovated.[6] James W. Fowler Co. was the general contractor on the new building.[3] The Hillsdale Library has a capacity of 75,000 volumes and has 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) of floor space.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Hillsdale Library". Multnomah County Library. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Hillsdale Library History". Multnomah County Library. June 3, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Hillsdale Library will go for LEED Silver". The Daily Journal of Commerce. May 14, 2002. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  4. ^ Baker, Linda (December 3, 2000). "Commission nixes mixed-use library for Hillsdale". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  5. ^ Wade Nkrumah (March 5, 2004). "At Last, Hillsdale Library Will Open Monday". The Oregonian.
  6. ^ a b Randy Gragg (March 7, 2004). "Architecture Review - Perfect Pitch". Oregonian.
  7. ^ DJC Staff (December 20, 2004). "Hillsdale Branch Library project turns silver into gold". The Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  8. ^ DJC Staff (February 1, 2005). "Hillsdale Branch Library: Good as gold". The Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  9. ^ Carter, Dan (November 21, 2002). "Artful steel skeleton signals new library". The Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Engineers create architectural features". The Daily Journal of Commerce. February 4, 2003. Retrieved 6 November 2012.

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