Several Metro programs are partnering with Portland’5 Centers for the Arts and the National Association of Minority Contractors to improve equity in contracting outcomes by identifying potential barriers that preclude or discourage certain contractors and subcontractors from submitting proposals on Metro’s projects.
The programs, including Metro's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program, its Procurement Department, its Construction Project Managment Office and its Property and Environmental Services Department are working to ensure minority contractors have better access to contracts that qualify through the Oregon Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity, or COBID.
“Our goal is to level the playing field by providing certified firms a fair opportunity to compete for our government contracts regardless of owner ethnicity, gender, disability, or firm size,” said Nyla Moore, Metro’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training and leadership coordinator.
Moore and the Construction Project Management Office team shared National Association of Minority Contractors' input with Metro’s procurement team. These process improvements were shared with Metro Council, the acting Local Contract Review Board, who ultimately approved the request for an alternate procurement of the Hatfield Hall roof project, resulting in a qualifications-based selection.
“This process enables us to evaluate proposers based on their COBID status, COBID partnerships, workforce participation and development plans and other equity initiatives which are key opportunities identified by NAMC, It also provides us with an opportunity to evaluate each step of our process as the project moves forward instead of taking a look back after the project is completed,” said Julie Bunker, Portland’5 director of operations.
With the approval to raise the sheltered market threshold for subcontract work from $50,000 to $100,000, Bunker says, the change means the general contractor can move the needle in terms of providing more and better opportunities for participation by COBID contractors and subs in alignment with Metro’s Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.