Equity and diversity are priorities for the City of Portland. At the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), that extends to our longtime role in managing contracts between the City and the companies that provide garbage, recycling and composting collection service. In December, the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) presented BPS with the Agency Leadership Award for BPS’ work to advance equity and diversity in Portland’s waste collection system.
“NAMC Oregon’s mission and mandate is Building Bridges – Crossing Barriers. We accomplish this by working with value-driven organizations who focus on minority business concerns and show a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI),” said Nate McCoy, NAMC executive director. “BPS was honored for the Agency Leadership Award because of their Equity Guiding Principles, leadership on stakeholder engagement and new policy and programming efforts underway. These policy and programs are vital tools to address the need to increase participation of workforce diversity and minority-owned business inclusion, more importantly, the need to create a conduit for diverse firms to have access to substantial and consistent opportunities to create generational wealth and legacies in their communities.”
BPS recently developed a Waste Equity Workplan to record the commitments that grew out of a recent residential garbage and recycling franchise review stakeholder process. The franchise review looked at ways to increase franchisee workforce diversity and reduce barriers to economic opportunities for minority-owned and woman-owned companies.
During the year-long conversation, the scope expanded as participants realized that the collection system governed by the franchise agreement represents just 20 percent of the waste generated by Portland residents and businesses and to make real change, action needs to occur across all sectors of the waste system.
The Waste Equity Workplan identifies the growing multifamily sector as a high priority for increasing access and opportunity for minority-owned and woman-owned companies. In 2019 BPS will launch a process to engage stakeholders in considering options and selecting a path forward.
The City’s own waste collection contracts represent another important opportunity, especially as BPS is poised to expand public trash collection across Portland. The Waste Equity Workplan directs BPS to make changes to the procurement approach for waste collection from public trash cans and City offices and facilities to increase access for minority-owned and woman-owned companies.
In December, BPS took a big step in that direction when City Council authorized an exemption from procurement rules for waste collection from public trash cans and City offices and facilities. The exemption allows the City to direct procurements for public waste collection into a new Waste Collection Access and Opportunity Program that will be available to underrepresented contractors.
BPS will use this new process during the procurement for waste collection from the new public trash cans that will be installed in East Portland this coming spring. Over the next few months BPS will also convene a Waste Equity Advisory Group to provide feedback during implementation of the Waste Equity Workplan and to evaluate progress annually.
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