02-19-2017  10:38 pm      •     


Faye Burch

Last Spring, Andrew Colas took the reins at the Oregon branch of the National Association of Minority Contractors.  At the same time, former board president Maurice Rahming and longtime advocate Faye Burch, who had just been re- elected to the board, decided to resign. 

Many NAMCO members and those who have worked with the organization are asking what happened and why.

The resignations happened just after the new board had been elected by the members. Once elected, the board elects its officers. Rahming and others suggested Burch for the position. A co-founder of the local branch, Burch had never sought a formal leadership role. But this time, she agreed.  

A vote was taken and Burch was elected in a 4-3 split. But, after a heated discussion –described as "hair-raising," in an off the record comment by a non-board member who was at the meeting–-the board decided to hold a special meeting to elect officers.

At the next meeting, one of the board members who had voted for Burch switched sides, and ultimately, the board decided to go forward with Andrew Colas as president. Burch and Rahming resigned.  Read our profile of Andrew Colas

James Posey, also a co-founder of NAMCO argues that consultants are peripheral to NAMCO's mission.

"I believe the organization should be run by contractors, not by consultants," said James Posey , who led the opposition to Burch's nomination. "She took offense to that."

Maurice Rahming

Both Burch and Posey know the minority contracting landscape better than most. But they have played different roles as advocates. As a consultant Burch works on projects from the design stage forward, often for years before construction begins.

She recommends contractors based on their capacity, bonding and interest in different types of work, she says. And as an advocate, she often helps link NAMCO members to projects in which she has zero financial interest.

"I don't believe we are successful unless everyone is working," she says.

Posey too has been a vocal, but more controversial advocate, opposing for example, the prevailing wage law that requires all contractors to provide union wages and benefits on public projects.  Posey recently retired his trucking firm Workhorse Construction.

Burch, Rahming and Colas say they don't want to go on record about the leadership disagreement.

But Burch admits she was blindsided at Posey's opposition, and hurt at the suggestion that she is not an equal member of NAMCO, after spending many years championing minority contractors.

After resigning, Burch says she received emails from more than 30 supporters, praising her work for the organization. Several said they were considering resigning from NAMCO.  Some asked for their membership fees to be returned.

Over the years, Burch has secured millions of dollars of business for Portland's minority contractors, who line up to praise her.

Take Nathaniel Hartley, a contractor who specializes in plasterwork.

"Both Faye and Maurice have helped my company tremendously," Hartley told The Skanner. "I received two major projects because of the work they did."

Hartley credits the pair for helping him win a contract to plaster 20 of 28 floors on the Ardaa, a 31-storey development  on Portland's South Waterfront, managed by Hoffman construction. He also worked on the Port of Portland offices at the airport.

"I plastered six floors of the parking structure," he says. "That was a big development for me."

Hartley says he has benefited from free classes Rahming offers contractors.

"He will sit down and teach you whatever you need to know," he says. "Using the computer to improve your estimates, job costing and blueprint reading; how to understand contracts: a lot of people go to that class for free.

"And Faye works tirelessly, relentlessly to build business for contractors. She's one of the main reasons for NAMCO's success."

Evan Williams of Tri Star Flagging and SBG Construction, emailed The Skanner with a letter of support for Burch and Rahming.

"Faye and Maurice have taken time out of their day to go with me into meetings …," he wrote.  "I cannot emphasize strongly enough how her support and encouragement has been what we needed to get past some very trying times and has helped us keep our doors open. In fact, our largest project to date has been due to Faye Burch working to get us that contract.

"I have personally witnessed on many occasions Faye and Maurice spend a great amount of time and energy and take on many battles for NAMC and all of its members to further the interest of and the support to us all. They have worked behind the scenes in an amazing way to get work for NAMC members and work that did not directly benefit them."

Vicqui Guevara, a former board officer, and owner of the nursery and  landscaping firm, Valley Growers, says she spent three months as NAMCO president. The volunteer job consumed 30 percent of her time, she says.

"I'm so sorry all this is happening," she told The Skanner. "Maurice and Faye have unselfishly given to this organization. Faye has been a very good advocate for me. She's the brains of the organization. She's untiring and dedicated. I've known her work through the night to help people."

Guevara says she hopes NAMCO members will give Colas a chance. It's important that NAMCO continue to succeed, she says, because minority contractors need those opportunities to show they can do excellent work and compete at the highest level.

"Our members need a chance to build their capacity," she says. "We can do the job; we have the manpower, we're bondable and we have integrity. We are competitive."

Despite the controversy, Colas has nothing but praise for both Burch and Posey. They both deserve a lot of credit for their work over the years, he says.

"Faye's been a tireless advocate for the organization.  She did a lot of things that opened my eyes to the disparities that exist. As a young person coming into this industry I definitely appreciate the work of all the people who have come before me."

Maurice Rahming says in recent years minority contractors have made progress, citing projects such as the Gresham Courthouse, the Sellwood Bridge and TriMet light rail construction .

And Rahming says a community benefits agreement that NAMCO forged with former Mayor Sam Adams has brought opportunities with the City of Portland. Under the agreement, minority contractors and other disadvantaged groups gained priority for two city projects:  work on Kelly Butte and maintenance work for the Water Bureau.

Comparing it to figures in the city's 2011 disparity study, Rahming says:

"This project has seen African American contractors share of the work increase by 1100 percent. I can show you the numbers. You have contractors that have never been able to work for the city, working for the city."

Rahming continues to serve as vice president of the national organization and Faye Burch remains on the national board.

Current board members of the local branch of the National Association of Minority Contractors are: Andrew Colas, president of Colas Construction;  Alando Simpson, vice-president of City of Roses Disposal & Recycling; Brandon Flint, project manager at Inline Commercial Contractors; Seyon Belai, owner of Zana Construction; James Posey, founder of the trucking company Workhorse Construction; Rosa Martinez, president of abatement company, PMG; and Jeff Moreland, owner of Raimore Construction.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Oregon Lottery
Carpentry Professionals


Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow