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The City of Portland, Oregon

Office of Management & Finance

Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services

Phone: 503-823-5288

Fax: 503-823-5384

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Rm 1250, Portland, OR 97204

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Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program

Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program

Meet the Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program Manager

Cathy Sherick joined the Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services August 5, 2019 and is working quickly to get the Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program (COEP) up and running. As part of the Procurement Services Division, Cathy will be working with the equity team on the contracting social equity initiatives.  Most recently at Clark College in Vancouver, Cathy supported Career and Technical education and workforce programs, developing pre-apprentice and apprenticeship opportunities. As an educator, Cathy's program development experience began in the classroom with non-typical students. As a director she has led Special Olympics, Parks and Recreation services, Federal Drug and Alcohol Prevention, Criminal Justice, Safe Rental Housing, Education and Community Development organizations.  

When asked why Cathy sought the position, she said, " I am excited to be working with the community, on behalf of the City of Portland, to build an effective Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program. Racial bias and thus inequity has been built in to the structure of all our institutions, our social and economic history, and our everyday lives. Implicit bias affects us all, as does the historic trauma of racism. It is my personal and professional responsibility to work diligently to address racial inequities and the systems of power and privilege that continue to disproportionately oppress people of color, women, people living with disabilities, and the disadvantaged."

Cathy can be reached at  Cathy.Sherick@portlandoregon.gov, (503) 823-6866

Background on the Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program

The Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program (COEP) is a collaborative, multi-bureau initiative with City Council, the Office of Equity and Human Rights and Human Rights (OEHR), bureau directors, construction project managers, and finance staff throughout the City. In recognizing the historic disparities that have prevented equity and diversity in contracting opportunities for underrepresented communities and women in the construction industry. Resolution No. 37331 (November 2017), directed the Office Of Management & Finance and OEHR to develop a new Citywide ongoing COEP and a funding plan.

Commitment to using Portland's public development projects to address this inequity has led to the identification of strategies and resources that will support the ability of the disabled, minority, woman-owned, emerging small businesses, and service-disabled veteran business enterprises (D/M/ESB/SDVBE), and those who have undertaken the Oregon State COBID certification to successfully participate in public contracting.  The Council has charged the Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services (BRFS) to collect one percent of the hard construction costs on all public improvement contracts executed at the City of Portland.

The COEP is one of several social equity contracting initiatives that target increasing workforce development and increasing access to City contracts for D/M/ESB/SDVBE and COBID certified contractors.  All public construction projects at the City of Portland over $25 million will use the Community Benefit Agreement (CBA). The Community Equity and Inclusion Plan (CEIP) will be used for projects of $10 Million to $25 million. These agreements establish the standards for increased workforce diversity.

The City of Portland is actively building the Community Opportunities and Enhancements program.

Collecting the one percent, as directed in the resolution, will require the Council to adopt a "City code". The code will establish that the fees will be applied to all public development projects. When adopted by the Council, the code will become part of the City Charter. The City Charter contains all the regulatory and administrative ordinances for the City of Portland.

Accompanying the code will be the Administrative Rules. These rules will spell out the activities and actions that will achieve the directive of the code. Detailing how funds will be calculated, managed, monitored, and dispersed, the rules will provide specific guidance for the implementation of the program. 

At the direction of the Mayor, the City is working closely with Prosper Portland and Worksystems.org to deliver the technical assistance and workforce program.  This requires an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City of Portland and Prosper Portland identifying how the work will be accomplished and what the roles, responsibilities, and administrative costs will be.

When adopted, the COEP will be advised by the collective expertise of the Community Equity and Inclusion Committee (CEIC). Selected by the Chief Administrative Officer and the Director of OEHR, the committee will be composed of industry and community stakeholders engaged in the construction industry. The CEIC will be the review body for compliance and equity efforts of contractors and subcontractors utilizing the CEIP.

Once the IGA, code, and administrative rules have been approved by Council, the COEP Manager will work with Prosper Portland to make grant funding available. Prosper Portland will undertake a stakeholder engagement process to develop and gather feedback on program design. After a transparent process, Prosper Portland will launch a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select service providers who can deliver business technical assistance to local underrepresented construction firms. Prosper Portland will coordinate with Worksystems, Inc. on the development of workforce programming to train and employ underrepresented workers. We currently anticipate that the formal RFP process will begin in spring 2020.

When will the COEP be up and running?

The COEP Manager, working closely with the OEHR and the Office of Civic and Community Life, will be establishing the City’s new CEIC in October 2019.

The initial work of the CEIP will include review of the code, the IGA, and the Administrative Rules.  Public review and comment on these items will also occur at this time.

Council adoption of the code, the Administrative Rules, and the IGA is planned for November 2019.