An investment in local businesses
The Parks Replacement Bond isn’t just about new playground equipment, updated facilities, and improved accessibility in some of the city’s most beloved spaces—it also creates jobs and opportunities for local companies. Many Bond funded park projects are on a smaller scale than other City projects, and they can be an ideal starting point for state-certified Disadvantaged, Minority-owned, Women-owned, and Emerging Small Business (D/M/W/ESB) contractors that want to work with the City.
For this pool of historically underutilized contractors, the City of Portland’s Prime Contractor Development Program (PCDP) provides contracting opportunities and support in navigating the City’s systems, paperwork, and other requirements that can be daunting barriers to success. Stacey Drake Edwards, PCDP Program Manager, works with all City bureaus with capital improvement projects to help the City meet its goal of 20% utilization of D/M/W/ESB companies. As of June 2019, 41% of the value of Bond funded construction work has been awarded to these certified companies.
Utilization of the PCDP program has been a key factor in success for the Bond’s completion of many playground renovations, roof repairs, and restroom repairs across the city. Through the program, D/M/W/ESB contractors have a more level playing field when bidding on jobs and understanding expectations, and PP&R has more knowledgeable contractors to choose from. Equally important, community members see that the people working to improve their parks and community centers reflect the diversity of Portland.
Stacey proudly notes the success story of 3 Diamond Construction, a State Certified Minority Contractor. When the company came to PCDP, most of its work had been with smaller projects. After completing some smaller maintenance projects for PP&R, 3 Diamond was able to successfully compete for and complete a $160,000 Bond-funded improvement project on the Springwater Trail. The opportunities that PCDP and the Bond Program presented have allowed this local Latino-owned business to steadily increase their experience and profits.
Despite success stories like these, Stacey acknowledges that there are still challenges for her program to overcome as staff may think it will be hard to work with newer, emerging businesses. In the end, it is worth it. Stacey says, “having this program means that City bureaus will have more access to qualified contractors, while keeping costs down and opportunities up.”
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