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Social Equity in Contracting

These initiatives along with others help address social inequity in the City's contracting processes and help to diversify the workforce. Learn more about certification, contract types, programs and policies that may give your firm an edge in winning work with the City.

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Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) and Community Equity and Inclusion Plan (CEIP)

The Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) and the Community Equity and Inclusion Plan (CEIP) are two City of Portland efforts to increase equity and diversity in construction trades among minorities and women. The CEIP applies to all City of Portland's public improvement contracts that utilize alternative contracting methods and have estimated contract values of $10 to $25 million. The CBA applies to all public improvement contracts with estimated contract values of $25 million and above. 

The CEIP and CBA share the same workforce requirements: at least 22% of total apprentice hours be performed by minorities and 9% by women. For journey level hours, the CEIP and CBA requires that at least 22% of hours be performed by minorities and 6% by women.  

See the official resolution for the CBA and CEIP in the pdf below. 

See the CBA and CEIP templates for contracts below.  

Community Opportunities and Enhancement Program (COEP)

The Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program (COEP) is a City of Portland strategy to increase diversity and equity in construction contracting. The goals of the COEP are to increase the number of people of color and women in the trades and to remove barriers for construction firms owned by people of color and women so that they can successfully participate in public contracting. The program is funded by a 1% set-aside of eligible costs on all City-owned public improvement contracts. Through a series of grants, the COEP will provide workforce development and business technical assistance to accomplish its goals.

The Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services is responsible for managing the COEP Fund, managing the Community Equity and Inclusion Committee and oversight of the intergovernmental agreement with Prosper Portland.

The Office of Equity and Human Rights provides technical assistance applying an equity lens to the process, programming and the outcomes for the City and Prosper Portland to ensure that the program meets its equity objectives.

Worksystems, Inc is responsible for managing contracts with service providers to deliver workforce development services.

The Community Equity and Inclusion Committee (CEIC) is a volunteer advisory and review body for compliance and equity efforts on City-owned projects between $10 and $25 million, the threshold that applies to projects subject to the Community Equity and Inclusion Plan. They will also advise the city on priorities for COEP funding.

Prosper Portland will manage the day-to-day operations and implementation of the grant program. Prosper Portland will manage contracts with service providers, measure outcomes and support the community in accessing these services. Prosper Portland will subcontract with Worksystems, Inc (WSI) to manage the workforce development component of COEP.

For more information on COEP's program design, timeline, and how to sign up for email updates, visit Prosper Portland's COEP page

Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID) 

The City of Portland promotes the utilization of Disadvantaged, Minority, Women, Emerging Small Businesses, Service Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises (D/M/W/ESB/SDVBE) contractors and sub-contractors to promote inclusion and a sustained, vibrant local economy. These types of Contractors are often referred to as COBID Contractors. COBID stands for Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity. It is an Oregon state agency. 

To learn more about D/M/W/ESB/SDVBE certification, visit the Get Certified section of the Business Oregon - Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID) website.

Direct Contracting 

The City may directly enter into contracts for Goods and Services and Professional services with COBID firms with an estimated cost of $150,000 or less without a competitive solicitation process, known as direct contracting. Direct contracting puts contracts in place in less time 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.

PCDP Contractor Directory 

Building/Tenant Improvement/Demolition and Deconstruction

Parks/Site Improvements

Street Improvements

Sewer and Water Utility Works

PCDP Consultants

  • Kendrick and Associates – Annie Kendrick
  • LCP, Inc. – Alison Rhea
  • J2J Civil – Jaime Viramontes

PCDP Partners

  • National Association of Minority Contractors of Oregon (NAMCO) - Nate McCoy
  • Northwest Utilities Contractors Association (NWUCA) - Melinda Dailey
  • Portland Business Development Group (PBDG) - Faye Burch
  • Northwest College of Construction (NWCOC) - Dave Short (Board President)
  • LatinoBuilt - Leanna Petrone

Subcontractor Equity Plan (SEP)

The Subcontractor Equity Program (SEP) requires that any city-owned construction projects and all city-sponsored projects valued at $150,000 or more include an aspirational goal that 20% of hard construction costs go towards COBID subcontractors. Of the 20%, 14% should go to Disadvantaged, Women, or Minority Business Enterprise contractors. The City encourages prime contractors to diversify their D/M/W/ESB/SDVBE subcontractor utilizationfor all available divisions of work. Prime contractors often use the State Directory of Certified Firms to find and contact potential subcontractors to use on the contract. Prime contractors will also be required to provide disclosure forms for first-tier subcontractors or sub consultants. The Subcontractor Equity Program (SEP) specification documents and forms are included in solicitation packages and are discussed at pre-bid meetings. Contractors are required to report on their continued utilization of D/M/W/ESB/SDVBE subcontractors throughout the life of the contract. See program details in the PDF below.

Section 3 Program

Section 3 is a provision of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act of 1968. Section 3 requires recipients of certain HUD financial assistance to direct employment and contracting opportunities to low and very-low income persons and businesses residing in the community, where the project is located, to the greatest extent feasible. Section 3 policies apply to Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) projects and situations for all construction projects for which the amount of HUD sourced assistance exceeds $200,000; and all contractor/subcontractor situations where the contract or subcontract exceeds $100,000 with HUD sourced funds. Section 3 Residents are residents of Public and Indian Housing; or persons who live in the Portland metropolitan area or non-metropolitan county and who earn 80% or less of the area median family income, based on household size. A Business 3 Concern and a business that is 51% owned by Section 3 Residents; or employs Section 3 Residents, for at least 30% of its full-time, permanent staff; or provides evidence of commitment to subcontract 25% or more of the dollar amount of the awarded contract to Section 3 Business.

To search for Section 3 Businesses, please visit our Contract Compliance Reporting System.

Note: Section 3 “Goals” and “Benchmarks” changed from 30% of New Hires to 25% of total labor hours for all Section 3 workers and 5% of total hours for “Targeted Section 3 Workers” (a new designation). 

Although the Final Rule (24 CFR 75) became effective November 30, 2020, compliance must be implemented pursuant to these regulations starting no later than July 1, 2021. This compliance will include reporting percentages of work hours prescribed in the Rule, among other new requirements.

More guidance will follow, as obtained from HUD.

Section 3 Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “new hire?"

A new hire means a full-time employee for a new permanent, temporary, or seasonal position that is created as a direct result of the expenditure of Section 3 covered financial assistance.

Can laid-off workers that are “re-hired” as a result of a HUD-funded project be considered new hires?

Yes. Any employee that was not on the payroll of a contractor on the day that Section 3 covered assistance was provided is considered a new hire.

What responsibilities do contractors/subcontractors have if they receive Section 3 covered contracts?

If the contractor/subcontractor has the need to hire new persons to complete the Section 3 covered contract or needs to subcontract portions of the work to another business, they are required to direct their newly created employment and/or subcontracting opportunities to Section 3 Residents and business concerns if their contracts are $100,000 or more. The same numerical goals apply to contractors and subcontractors (i.e. 30 percent of new hires, 10 percent of construction contracts, and 3 percent of non-construction contracts).

Do Section 3 requirements apply to material only contracts?

No. Section 3 does not apply to material only contracts or those that do not require any labor.

Are professional service contracts covered under Section 3?

Yes, the term “Section 3 covered contract” includes professional service contracts provided that the work to be performed is generated by the expenditure of Section 3 covered Public and Indian housing assistance, or for work arising in connection with projects involving housing rehabilitation, housing construction, or other public construction.

Are Section 3 residents or business concerns guaranteed employment or contracting opportunities under Section 3?

Section 3 is not an entitlement program, there are no guarantees. Residents and businesses must be able to demonstrate that they have the ability or capacity to perform the specific job or successfully complete the contract that they are seeking. Section 3 requirements provide preference to Section 3 Residents and business concerns, but not a guarantee.

How can a prospective Section 3 business certify that they meet the eligibility requirements?

A business should fill out a copy of the Section 3 Business Application and submit to Procurement Services to determine eligibility. If a firm is certified, they will be placed on the Section 3 Business Certification List, which will be provided to Developers and/or Contractors on Section 3 Covered Contracts, and posted to the Section 3 Program webpage.

Can contracting with COBID businesses count towards Section 3 contracting goals?

Only COBID businesses that meet the eligibility criteria set forth in the requirements can be counted towards the minimum goal for Section 3 contracting opportunities.

What are the Section 3 minimum numerical goals?

The minimum numerical goal for employment is 30% of the aggregate number of new hires shall be Section 3 residents.

The minimum goals for contracting are:

  • 10% of the total dollar amount of all Section 3 covered contracts for building trades work for maintenance, repair, modernization, or development of public or Indian housing or building trades work arising in connection with housing rehab, housing construction and other public construction shall be awarded to Section 3 businesses; and
  • 3% of the total dollar amount of all non-construction Section 3 covered contracts shall be awarded to Section 3 businesses.

What should contractors do if they fail to meet the minimum numerical goals set forth in the requirements?

Contractors must adequately document all efforts taken to comply with the requirements of Section 3 and explain why despite their efforts “to the greatest extent feasible;” the minimum numerical goals were not met.

Workforce Training & Hiring Program (WTHP) 

The goal of the Workforce Training & Hiring Program is to increase the numbers of women and minorities in the construction trades through apprenticeship opportunities on City of Portland projects. The Workforce Training & Hiring Program applies to city construction projects estimated at $200,000 and above and subcontracts at $100,000 and above. The Program includes: a requirement that a minimum of 20% of the labor hours per trade are worked by state registered apprentices; an 18% goal for minority participation; and a 9% goal for female participation. See how the City is doing by checking out our Workforce Hiring & Training Program Dashboard

Details of program requirements are included in the bid document for each project. The Workforce Training & Hiring Program adheres to Administrative Rules 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.