In less than ten days and with no cost to Multnomah County taxpayers, an empty detention pod in the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home was transformed into a library and youth learning center. The remodel was made possible through a collaborative design program between Portland Northwest College of Art and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Eighteen incoming masters level design students were given the challenge of transforming the pod with the guidance of mentors Jack Sanders and Butch Anthony.
The students brought their technical know-how and creativity to the project. They built a series of bookcases, ornate benches, and created story scenes in dioramas for display and inspiration. Books were then provided by Multnomah County Library Teen Services. Access to the center is always supervised and is provided as a part of a youth’s stay. Multnomah Education Service District will also be using the space for literary instruction as part of the education credits youth receive while in detention.
On any given day, there are about 64 youth detained in the Donald E. Long Home. Typically lengths of stay are about 10 days but some youth are held for over a year.