2009: Disparity Study showed statistically significant underutilization of prime contractors owned by people of color and women on City construction projects

2011: Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity (MAWE), a coalition of community, labor, business and equity partners, formed. MAWE developed the Model Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) template to create a framework to increase contracting and workforce opportunities for historically underserved community members.

2012: City Council approved the draft Model CBA for consideration on construction projects over $15 million and piloted the Model CBA on two Portland Water Bureau projects: the Kelly Butte Reservoir and Interstate Maintenance Facility projects.

2015: City Council directed the allocation of 1% of the hard construction costs from the Portland Building Reconstruction project for community opportunities and enhancements.

2016: The City allocated funds for community opportunities and enhancements on the Washington Park Reservoir and the Yamhill Garage projects as part of their Community Benefits Plans.

Model CBA pilot projects were completed and the Model CBA was assessed. While generally successful, City and industry stakeholders agreed that making funding available to support equity efforts on a project-by-project basis was inefficient for City bureaus distributing funds and for community organizations applying for multiple grants and reporting outcomes to multiple bureaus.

2017: City Council approved resolutions requiring the use of a Community Equity and Inclusion Plan (CEIP) for projects $10-25 million and required CBAs for projects over $25 million. To address the inefficiencies of project-by-project equity efforts, they directed staff to create the Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program and fund by collecting 1% from all City-owned construction projects.

2018: The City released a Request for Applications to utilize funds collected from the Portland Building Reconstruction, Yamhill Garage and Washington Park Reservoir. During the RFA review process, the City received feedback from the community that additional programmatic planning was needed. This feedback encouraged the City to put a hold on the grant award process.

The Portland Metro Region Construction Workforce Market Study was released. The research sought to uncover the major barriers to achieving equity and increasing diversity in the construction workforce for the Portland Metro Region. A set of recommendations for success were identified and include regional cooperation, stable funding for pre-apprenticeship programs, job site culture training, investment in ongoing supportive services and the development of more robust equity policies and practices regionally.

Metro convened stakeholders from public agencies, private industry and community-based organizations through the Construction Careers Pathway Project (C2P2) to identify strategies for providing reliable career pathways for people of color and women in the construction trades.

2019: Incorporating feedback from the 2018 RFA process, and in recognition of Prosper Portland’s extensive experience delivering complex equity-based economic development programs, the City of Portland entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (or agreement) with Prosper Portland to develop and implement the COEP.