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Deschutes County

Deschutes Public Library to send $195 million bond measure to fall ballot

Board also agrees to $1.35 million purchase of new future Bend library site

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes Public Library Board announced Wednesday evening it plans to send a $195 million bond measure to the November ballot and has voted to spend $1.35 million to buy a new Central Library site on Bend's north end.

The announcement regarding the land purchase said the purchase of land for a future Central Library is "another important step forward in the library’s capital plan to expand and enhance library buildings and services across Deschutes County."

The 12.75-acre parcel is being purchased for $1.35 million and is located west of Highway 20, near Robal Road. The land was originally purchased by the Gumpert family in 1948.

“After six months of careful analysis with the help of Brooks Resources and their team of experts, we feel this is an important and proactive step toward ensuring Deschutes Public Library’s ability to keep pace with the county’s projected growth,” said Martha Lawler, the library board's president.

The library board had initially voted in January to purchase the parcel. Library Director Todd Dunkelberg said that after six months of due diligence, it was clear that the land purchase is a fiscally wise move, and the board voted to do so last week.

“The location meets all of our top criteria,” he said. “It is centrally and easily accessible from all areas of the county and is located near neighborhoods, schools, shopping and other important services. It’s difficult to find a large enough land parcel that meets all those requirements, so we feel confident about moving forward with this purchase.”  

The library system, which has no bonded indebtedness, will pay cash for the land and incur no debt.

When approving the land purchase, the library board also approved moving forward with a countywide bond measure as part of the November 2020 election.

The $195 million bond will finance the construction of a Central Library, repair and remodel existing libraries in Downtown Bend, La Pine, Sisters and Sunriver and double the size of the existing Redmond Library.

The organization noted that this will be the library system’s first request for funding in 22 years.

The planned Central Library will serve all of Deschutes County, including a state-of-the-art learning center for children, flexible gathering spaces for a variety of purposes from business meetings/collaboration to study rooms for students to DIY activities, a technology hub and a performance and art space.

The building will expand the space needed for additional books and materials to meet population growth and provide increased efficiency, with a centralized materials handling system that will allow rapid distribution of materials throughout the county.

Conceptual plans for the building have been developed in response to input from more than 5,000 county residents over the past several years. The new building will include flexible spaces to adapt to different use patterns and needs.

“Our communities are facing strange and difficult times,” Dunkelberg said. “In hard times, the library has always been the place Deschutes County residents turn to when they need answers and information that can change and enrich their lives, from connection to employment and health resources, small business and legal information, family activities and, of course, resources for learning and entertainment.

"We believe we must continue to be sound fiscal stewards as we plan and prepare for a dynamic future to serve all of Deschutes County, as we have done for the last 100 years.” 

Preview the library’s vision plan at:

For more information, contact Communications & Development Manager Chantal Strobel at; (541) 312-1031.

About the Library:

The Deschutes Public Library district, located in the high desert of Central Oregon, serves more than 200,000 Deschutes County residents through libraries in Bend, La Pine, Redmond, Sisters and Sunriver. The Library’s website ( provides access to hundreds of resources, magazine articles, downloadable books and more from the comfort of home and work. Free and dynamic cultural programming for all ages is available online to enrich our daily experience and encourage all residents to Know More.

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    1. I have tried to go there 3 times in the last couple years and each time there was an incident with homeless people. A couple fights and one time a lady was sitting by the door screaming her head off for no apparent reason.

      The last time we went a gentleman was taking a bath in the sink in the restroom

  1. The last time I checked the center of Bend wasn’t so close to the city limits? This facility will become a burden on the whole county with endless requests for more money. Do like everyone else in Deschutes county, Live within your means. I like to dream about better things in my life but I don’t expect others to fulfill them.

  2. “another important step forward in the library’s capital plan to expand and enhance library buildings and services across Deschutes County.”

    But why? Seriously, WHY! In this rapidly evolving digital world, buildings full of paper for loan isn’t a viable endeavor. We’ll forever be indebted. I love books but am a realist. We don’t need a $195 mill to update the Card Catalog. Must be something deeper than just more free stuff on the backs of the tax payers.

    1. I agree. I don’t know a single person that has been to a library in years. It is something that should be phased out…let alone spend 200 million on.

  3. Sorry but the electronic information age has zoomed past these brick and mortar relics . Same can be said of the Taj Mahals public schools. They’ve become bastions of liberal indoctrination and empower the teachers union/Democrat party who not only tax rhe hell out of your property but you pay for the privilege of having NO educational choice for your children. Defund them.

    1. I’m sorry, but what is the alternative to public schools? A lot of private schools receive public funding, right? Otherwise they would be unaffordable. I definitely do not trust myself to teach some high level subjects to my kids either. Our public schools could use some work, I agree, but I haven’t heard a feasible alternative yet. Honestly your line of thinking is dangerous and not good for this country…Talk about being zoomed past, we can just look at the 25 countries already ahead of us in educational rank

      1. Obviously Donkey you’ve been “zoomed past ” into helplessness without government spoon feeding. Hell. lockdown Brown ain’t even letting her future socialists back into the building so what are you paying for? We’ll have monolithic buildings and lovely manicured fields and parks all yellow taped, no admittance.

        1. I really would not like to see what our country would look like without these “liberal indoctrination centers” that train our engineers, scientists, writers (the worlds best), economists (keeping the dollar strong and designing trade policy that goes above both of our heads), finance/business people, etc… people come from all over the world to learn at the worlds best institutions and you want to defund them? I dont understand this. Trump only says these things cause he wants to get reelected, not because he has our countrys best interest in mind. And you’re conflating a temporary issue (drawn out by people like you not wearing a mask no doubt) with the long term health of our country. Sad!

  4. Never a good time to ask for money BUT this is defiantly not it. We haven’t even begun to see what our economy will be like in 2-6 months? Jobs, housing and health should be forefront above any expansions right now. People with money could care less on how YOUR tax dollars are spent. We have a extremely tone def local government.

    1. I actually care quite a bit how my tax dollars are spent and wasted. I’ve cared for decades and really hope the loser generations eventually start to get involved constructively. It makes a difference when you get up and go to work at a job that you’ve had for a decade or so. So many younger Dolittles now think 18 months is a career, where’s my millions??.

  5. I support this! We have great libraries and I love having a place with every book I could want, plus internet access, printing services, tax advice, and community programs. It will be a sad day when our community stops supporting important community services like this.

  6. Unfortunately, libraries are so yesterday. You can stream, use the internet, get a reader. I remember when I first got my reader, I MISSED turning the pages of a book. Technology changes our lives. Just ask any boomer who worked in a factory/manufacturing/mill.

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