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Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

Supporting businesses owned by people of color and women

Worker on I-205 MAX project

TriMet is committed to inclusive contracting practices and a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. Our Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program has become a national model for encouraging and supporting businesses owned by people of color and women when competing for contracts on transit construction projects.

DBE profiles

Meet some of the DBE firms that worked on the MAX Green Line and other recent projects.

Val Solorzano
Val

Greg Kurahashi
Greg

Gil Carreon
Gil

Mark Matthews
Mark

Jean Malary
Jean

Marcela Alcantar
Marcela

Ensuring a level playing field

Our DBE program is designed to create opportunities and build the capacity of state-certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's rail projects.

We coordinate with prime contractors, subcontractors and other agencies to provide opportunities for DBEs and employ creative problem solving methods to build business capacity. This includes:

  • breaking scopes of work into smaller bid packages to encourage small contractors to bid
  • rotating contracting opportunities created within a division of work
  • developing mentorship opportunities between smaller and larger firms

Contracting opportunities

For each new project, TriMet staff and the prime contractors identify subcontracting areas with the best potential for DBE participation, including:

  • concrete
  • masonry
  • landscaping
  • paving
  • electrical
  • trucking
  • excavating
  • traffic controls
  • painting

Technical services for subcontractors

Marketing

If you are looking to use a DBE firm, you can find a complete listing on the State of Oregon’s certification website. The State of Oregon DBE Directory helps small firms market themselves to prime contractors. The directory highlights each firm's expertise.

Networking and workshops

We coordinate and support networking sessions throughout the year to provide DBEs and other small contractors access to prime contractors and large subcontractors. TriMet and other agencies also provide workshops on topics such as bonding, contracting and professional services contracts.

Flagger working on Interstate Yellow Line MAX project

Interstate MAX: a national model for DBE participation

TriMet and its prime contractors worked to ensure that the Interstate MAX Yellow Line was built by people from the community, especially from North and Northeast Portland. As a result, local DBE firms secured 19 percent of the contract dollars—valued at $35 million. The project has become a national model for DBE participation.

DBE Workforce Story thumbnailInterstate MAX DBE and Workforce Story: Overcoming Barriers to Inclusion  3.8MB PDF

Technical assistance

Our staff works with prime contractors and other supporting agencies such as MCIP in providing technical and business assistance to DBEs and other small businesses to ensure they are able to perform contracted work. DBEs receive assistance as needed with contract performance and bonding issues, DBE and EEO certification and OCIP forms.

DBE certification

For information about how to become certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, visit the Business Oregon website.

Workforce Training and Hiring Program

In response to a nationwide trend of diminishing qualified trade craft workers in the construction industry, TriMet uses the Workforce Training and Hiring Program to maximize apprenticeship opportunities on TriMet projects for people of color, women and economically disadvantaged workers in the construction trades.

We are committed to increasing the pool of workers for future public works projects. These are our workforce program goals:

  • Our contractors commit to provide workforce training opportunities in all trades associated with an apprenticeship program.
  • The percentage of workforce hours performed by apprentices will be at least 20% for each apprenticeable trade.
  • Our workforce diversity will reflect the diversity of the Portland metro area.

Register as a vendor

If you would like to be notified of future bidding opportunities that match your firm's capabilities, please register as a vendor in our online system.

Val Solorzano, C.O.A.T. Flagging owner and principal

Val Solorzano, C.O.A.T. Flagging owner and principal

C.O.A.T. Flagging

Val Solorzano is paving the way in the tough field of construction for women and minorities.

In 2007, Val Solorzano launched C.O.A.T. Flagging to provide flagging services for the MAX Green Line project. She employs approximately 30 staff, including 24 flaggers. As a part of the Local Union #320, Val does all she can in getting more women and people of color into the union.

C.O.A.T. Flagging is part of TriMet's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which creates opportunities and builds the capacity of state-certified DBEs as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's commuter and light rail projects.

Greg Kurahashi, president of Kurahashi & Associates

Greg Kurahashi, president of Kurahashi & Associates

Kurahashi & Associates

Kurahashi & Associates was awarded a contract to provide topographic surveying, easements and construction staking for two buildings at TriMet's Merlo Bus Maintenance Facility.

The $13.3 million project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and includes replacement of an aging and inefficient bus fueling and wash building and construction of a new LIFT paratransit facility.

More than 115 construction workers were employed and about 20 jobs retained due to this project. The firm is also a subcontractor on the current Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project.

For Kurahashi the job "provides income for myself and my employees and offers support for the continuation of the organization."

Kurahashi & Associates is part of TriMet's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which creates opportunities and builds the capacity of state-certified DBEs as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's commuter and light rail projects. Partnerships like these help rebuild the economy.

Gil Carreon, owner of Liberty Steel Erectors

Gil Carreon, owner of Liberty Steel Erectors

Liberty Steel Erectors

After spending 20 years as an ironworker on structural steel projects, Gil Carreon struck out on his own and started Liberty Steel Erectors in 1994. He built a business in commercial and industrial metal fabrication and steel erection.

"We do anything and everything," Carreon states. "Structural work, custom work, miscellaneous work. We do it all."

Gil Carreon joined TriMet's MAX Green Line project, the highest visibility construction zone in the region, with $1.5 million in project contracts.

Liberty Steel Erectors is part of TriMet's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which creates opportunities and builds the capacity of state-certified DBEs as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's commuter and light rail projects.

Mark Matthews, owner of Pacificmark Construction Corp.

Mark Matthews, owner of Pacificmark Construction Corp.

Pacificmark Construction Corp.

Through a TriMet mentorship program, MAX Green Line project subcontractor Mark Matthews of Pacificmark Construction Corp. has learned a great deal about project management.

He's learned so much, in fact, that Pacificmark Construction Corp. served as the project manager for maintenance and upgrades to the east approach to the Steel Bridge in 2008, work funded by the city of Portland.

Mark joined TriMet's MAX Green Line construction project, the highest visibility construction zone in the region.

Pacificmark Construction Corp. is part of TriMet's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which creates opportunities and builds the capacity of state-certified DBEs as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's commuter and light rail projects. It is one of the first DBE subcontractors on a TriMet project to become the prime contractor on a major construction job.

Jesse Rodriguez, president of R & R General Contractors, Inc.

Jesse Rodriguez, president of R & R General Contractors, Inc.

R & R General Contractors, Inc.

R & R General Contractors, Inc., was awarded a contract as the prime contractor to provide rail and station improvements on the Gresham Civic Drive Station Project in 2010. They specialize in heavy civil, heavy highway and transit light rail work.

Jesse Rodriguez and his brother Abel founded R & R General Contractors, Inc. in July 2008, with the dream of creating a minority-owned company with positive community impacts.

Jesse has been involved with numerous TriMet projects, including the MAX Green Line, the Portland Streetcar extension, MAX Red Line and the Westside Corridor Project.

R & R General Contractors, Inc., is part of TriMet's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which creates opportunities and builds the capacity of state-certified DBEs as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's commuter and light rail projects. Partnerships like these help rebuild the economy.

Jean Malary, owner of Affordable Electric

Jean Malary, owner of Affordable Electric

Affordable Electric

Jean Malary has come a long way, both geographically and professionally, to find success in the world of construction. After his journey from Haiti led him to Portland, he began working as an electrician. He joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union and learned how to subcontract on large construction projects.

Malary was awarded a contract for work vital to the operation of the MAX Green Line project, specifically the Portland Mall segment.

"We do the ductbanks," Malary explained, "the underground conduits that will supply wiring for signal communication and also power for the trains, shelters and ticket vending machines."

Affordable Electric is part of TriMet's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which creates opportunities and builds the capacity of state-certified DBEs as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's commuter and light rail projects.

Marcela Alcantar, owner of Alcantar and Associates

Marcela Alcantar, owner of Alcantar and Associates

Alcantar and Associates

In 1999, as TriMet's MAX Yellow Line project got underway along Interstate Avenue in Portland, Alcantar and Associates was a small, three-person civil engineering firm.

Today, Alcantar employs 12 people and has added surveying and construction staking to its services. It also has three trucks and a GPS system to help it perform its work.

Marcela's firm joined TriMet's MAX Green Line project, the highest visibility construction zone in the region.

Alcantar and Associates is part of TriMet's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which creates opportunities and builds the capacity of state-certified DBEs as prime and subcontractors on TriMet's commuter and light rail projects. The firm's success with TriMet has helped it win contracts on other major construction projects in the region.