Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Contracting

Three construction workers at the Outer Division Safety Project
The City of Portland is deeply committed to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the contracting process. We believe that when barriers for participation are met with equitable solutions, our city thrives. Find out how your business may qualify for equity-based certification below.
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Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID) 

The City of Portland encourages qualified businesses to become certified by Business Oregon. Business Oregon's COBID program certifies businesses owned by minorities, women, or service-disabled veterans. They also certify emerging small businesses.

Visit the COBID website 

The Community Opportunities Enhancement Program (COEP)

The Community Opportunities and Enhancement Program (COEP) provides workforce development and technical help to businesses through grants. The program has two goals. The first is to increase the number of people of color and women in the trades. The second is to remove barriers for construction firms owned by people of color and women. Both goals seek to increase the number of people of color and women in public contracting.

Responsibilities for managing the program falls to five groups:

  • The Office of Equity and Human Rights participates in the process to ensure that the COEP meets its equity objectives.
  • Prosper Portlandmanages the day-to-day operations and implementation of the COEP grant program. They manage service provider contracts, help community access services, and report on outcomes.
  • Work Systems, Inc manages service provider contracts to deliver workforce development services. Prosper Portland subcontracts with Work Systems, Inc. to manage the workforce component of COEP.
  • The Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services manages the COEP Fund. The Fund is a 1% set-aside on all City-owned public improvement contracts. They also manage the Community Equity and Inclusion Committee and the formal agreement with Prosper Portland.

For more information on COEP and to sign up for email updates,

 Visit Prosper Portland's COEP page.

Direct Contracting 

The City may buy goods and services with COBID-certified businesses without competitive solicitation. It applies to contracts with an estimated cost of $150,000 or less. Direct contracting takes less time to put contracts in place and supports COBID firms.

Prime Contractor Development Program (PCDP) 

The Prime Contractor Development Program (PCDP) creates increased prime contracting opportunities for COBID contractors with the City of Portland. Projects in the PCDP range from $5,000 to $1 million. 

Through the PCDP, contractors receive technical assistance in different areas of work, including sewer and water, street and park improvement, building construction and tenant improvements. The program also provides educational opportunities in job costing, bidding and estimating, along with business development. While these certified contractors benefit from participating in PCDP, the program also offers the unique opportunity for City bureaus to access a pool of contractors that have historically been underutilized.

Download PCDP FY 2018-19 Annual Report

Download PCDP FY 2017-18 Annual Report

Download PCDP Manual 2019

Search PCDP Directory

Regional Workforce Equity Agreement (RWEA) and the Construction Diversity Inclusion Policy (CDIP)

The Regional Workforce Equity Agreement (RWEA) and the Construction Diversity Inclusion Policy (CDIP) promote diversity, inclusion, and local workforce and business opportunities in the City’s construction contracts. These policies replace the previously adopted Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) and Community Equity and Inclusion Plan (CEIP).

The RWEA, adopted by City Council in April 2022, represents one of the first multi-jurisdictional workforce agreements in the country. It is one of seven strategies identified in the Construction Careers Pathways Project (C2P2) Regional Framework to help advance workforce equity in the construction trades. The RWEA applies to all City construction projects procured using alternative contracting methods and with an Engineer’s Estimate valued at over $5 million, and that is not otherwise subject to federal requirements that conflict with the Agreement.

The CDIP aims to increase the participation of underrepresented and underutilized businesses and includes targeted outreach to contractors certified by the Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID), as well as self-identified or alternatively certified minority and women-owned businesses. The CDIP applies to all City construction projects procured using alternative contracting methods.

Download Regional Workforce Equity Agreement

Download Construction Diversity Inclusion Policy

On contracts covered by the RWEA, the City of Portland requires primes and subcontractors to submit the form below. 

Download Construction Careers Pathways Project High Road Contractor Form 

On contracts covered by the RWEA, the City of Portland requires subcontractors to submit the letter below.

Download Regional Workforce Equity Agreement Letter of Assent

Subcontractor Equity Plan (SEP)

The Subcontractor Equity Plan (SEP) applies to construction contracts valued at $150,000 or more. The goal is for 20% of hard construction costs to go toward COBID subcontractors. Of the 20%, 14% should go to Disadvantaged, Minority or Women-owned Business Enterprises. The SEP requires prime contractors to report on COBID use for the life of the contract.

Prime contractors can find SEP specification forms in the solicitation packages. Pre-bid meetings also discuss SEP requirements and forms. Prime contractors can use the State Directory of Certified Firms to find COBID subcontractors.

Download Subcontractor Equity Program Details  

Section 3 Provision 

Section 3 is a provision of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act of 1968. Section 3 policies apply to Portland Housing Bureau projects receiving certain HUD financial help exceeding $200,000.

Those projects should direct training and jobs to Section 3 and Targeted Section 3 workers. Those projects also should direct contract opportunities to Section 3 business concerns. Both workers and businesses should be in the community where the project takes place.

On Section 3 projects, contractors will need to prioritize efforts to hire and train Section 3 Workers, Targeted Section 3 Workers and contract with Section 3 Business concerns. Section 3 Workers should work at least 25% of all labor hours and targeted Section 3 Workers should work at least 5% of all labor hours to the greatest extent possible. Before starting work, the program requires that all workers submit a Section 3 Worker Eligibility Form (link below) to the City. If they submitted the form during the previous year, then they do not have to submit a new one.

Search for Section 3 Businesses in our Contract Compliance Reporting System.

Download Income and Rent Limits

Download Section 3 Business Eligibility form

Download Formulario de Elegibilidad de Negocios de la Seccion 3

Download Section 3 Worker Eligibility form

Download Formulario de Elegibilidad del Trabajador de Seccion 3

Workforce Training & Hiring Program (WTHP) 

The Workforce Training & Hiring Program (WTHP) aims to increase women and minority participation in the construction trades. The program accomplishes this through apprenticeship opportunities on City projects.

The WTHP applies on:

  • Low-bid construction prime contracts estimated at $200,000 and above.
  • Low-bid construction subcontracts estimated at $100,000 and above.

WTHP Requirements:

  • State registered apprentices work at least 20% of labor hours per trade.
  • Minorities work at least 18% of labor hours per trade.
  • Women work at least 9% of labor hours per trade.

Bid documents for each project include details of the program. The WTHP adheres to Administrative Rule 1.20.

Contracting Social Equity Initiatives Quick Reference Sheet 

The PDF below provides a quick reference sheet for some of the City of Portland's contracting social equity initiatives. 

Download Contracting Social Equity Initiatives