09 02 2014
  2:13 am  
     •     
Healthy youth
Dr. T. Allen Bethel, second right, was honored for his contributions. Dr. Bethel serves on the TriMet board. Neil Macfarlane is at right.

TriMet celebrated its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program May 30 at the Em,bassy Suites hotel. The transit agency reports the program set  diversity records on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project.

Neil McFarlane, TriMet's general manager said more than $110 million in contracts have been awarded to 108 firms owned by people of color and women. MacFarlane said that's a new contracting record  for any regional project.

"This is an amazing milestone that was achieved because of our commitment to inclusion, diversity and creating opportunities for these emerging small businesses," said McFarlane.

The project has also increased the proportion of construction jobs going to people of color to almost 24 percent . In addition, 16 percent  of the workforce are apprentices.

TriMet created the diversity program in 2000 in response to community concern that people of color had little access to lucrative job and contracting opportunities. The Yellow Line MAX was first project to include the diversity program, and resulted in $36 million in contracts for disadvantaged firms. That rose to $62 million during the MAX Green Line project.

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is scheduled to open in 2015.

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