Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

Supporting businesses owned by people of color and women

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.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Description: Fiscal Years 2017-2019

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


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.

We Built the MAX Orange Line Booklet thumbnail

We Built the MAX Orange Line Booklet

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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.

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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.