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Deschutes Public Library’s planned Central Library site faces criticism, hurdles

The library district will have to work with the city of Bend on annexation

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- While 53% of participating Deschutes County voters last fall approved a bond measure that would construct a "world-class" Central Library just north of the Bend city limits, along Hwy. 20, there's still a major hurdle to clear before construction can start, and some critics of the project are pressing their case.

Since the land the new Central Library is to be built on is just outside of the city limits, the Deschutes Public Library will need to work with city councilors to annex the land into the city limits. Todd Dunkelberg, the library district district's director, told NewsChannel 21 Thursday that could cause delays, which will ultimately affect taxpayers.

"The longer delays we have will be more of a cost to our county and the taxpayers in Deschutes County," Dunkelberg said.  

At Wednesday's Deschutes Public Library Board meeting, a few members of the public voiced their frustration with the planned Central Library's location, including current City Councilor Anthony Broadman and Council on Aging of Central Oregon Board President Louis Capozzi.

Capozzi wrote an open letter to the board stating a number of matters he had issue with.

Capozzi wrote, "There are a number of concerns affecting our aging population regarding both the location and the plan. We strongly prefer that more resources be put into expansion and enhancement of our community libraries, where your key audiences reside. … How would an elderly person in La Pine make the 60-mile round trip to the location you have chosen?"

Dunkelberg said the Central Library, which is slated for a 2023 construction start date, will also improve Highway 20 accessibility by adding a bike lane.

"We really feel like we owe it to our voting public to continue with this project," Dunkelberg said. "We are moving forward with the expectation that this is the property for us and that we will be successful in building the building."

The library plans to meet with architects in July to start the design process. Dunkelberg added that the public will be included in the design process later this year, in September.

Bend / Central Oregon / Deschutes County / News / Top Stories
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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.



  1. This article should also mention, one of the new library board members was elected on a platform against this goldbricked development, beating a many-term incumbent. I agree that we have great existing libraries that we should focus on, instead of using tax funds to subsidize real estate deals and a gray-area ugb exception- yes the delays will cost the taxpayers but only if we insist on building such a monstrosity in such a bad spot

    1. It’s a great place for the library. Now all the good people over on Hunnell will have a convenient spot to wash themselves and watch pornography at taxpayers expense.

    2. Agreed, this could be several blocks closer to Hunnel Rd. so the homeless wouldn’t have to walk so far to use the restrooms, internet, etc. since they are now the priority in Bendiego.

  2. Yet another building to build, heat and maintain. Yet no mention of the carbon emissions this public building will create, cuz’ it’s a library and a feel-good for many people. Not to mention, it’s in a terrible location requiring yet more traffic to visit and staff the building.

    Judging on the existing library in Bend, it will make for an excellent day care center for the homeless in the Home Depot area. Free heat, clean bathrooms and a caring staff.

    1. Hopefully they’ll use heat pump technology that runs on electricity. I don’t know about you, but all my electricity comes from 100% carbon free hydropower.

  3. Since so much of the library is online these days, having a huge library seems antiquated in digital age. Why not make several smaller ones like the one by Costco. Placing smaller ones around Bend is easier for people that need them to access them. So putting a giant one north by all the homeless camps, just provides a nice cozy place for them to hang out and sleep off their nightly drugs/alcohol stupor.
    The downtown library is filled (pre covid) with homeless hanging out. Now making another one?? Waste of taxpayers money!! And way too far away from anyone that truly needs the computer use our checking out movies. That is why I voted no!

  4. The reporter left out the most important piece of information: Where exactly is it to be located? Just outside the City limits on Highway 20 could mean in Tumalo for all we know reading this article. All he needed to tell us is a cross street.

      1. Barney…don’t you recognize sarcasm when you see it? Since you are clarifying it for me, could you maybe tell us where Robal Road is? I could not find any such road in the area. Thank you.

  5. It’s not just Bend residents ~ Deschutes extends to LaPine and beyond Redmond. As Mr. Capozzi shares in his letter.

    As for everything online ~ there are still hardbound books, computers for folks to access and more. Many people enjoy going to the library for a variety of reasons. And even if you reserve the book online you still have to go pick it up.

    Perhaps if Bend/ the county had an improved transportation system things might be different.

    1. I noticed, even before the pandemic, internet use went down drastically Downtown, when the Library started cracking down on porn use and bad behavior. There are few, if any, good bound books anymore. They do not even stock classics now, and popular books are all available for free via Amazon Prime. Which gives me a great idea; the City could subsidize Amazon Prime subscriptions (about $100 per year) for those who cannot afford it, and save millions of dollars in new construction, sell the Downtown Library and just have a few satellite libraries.

  6. “We really feel like we owe it to our voting public to continue with this project,” and what do you owe the the other 47% who don’t want it but you will force to pay for it? With all media going online at such a rapid pace there will be even less use for a library building when it’s finished in 5 years! typical of these dinosaurs who are on the Library board not seeing the actual future only seeing media usage through their own clouded glasses!

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