05-20-2018  5:03 am      •     
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Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First experts said eggs are bad for you, then they say it's OK to eat them. Is red wine good for your heart or will it give you breast cancer?Should you eat your placenta?Conflicting research about diets is nothing new, but applying the question to whether new mothers...

US arrest, raids in Seattle pot probe with China ties

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities have arrested a Seattle woman, conducted raids and seized thousands of marijuana plants in an investigation into what they say is an international black market marijuana operation financed by Chinese money, a newspaper reported Saturday.Authorities are still...

State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...


Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...


Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...

A royal wedding bridges the Atlantic and breaks old molds

WINDSOR, England (AP) — The son of British royalty and the daughter of middle-class Americans wed Saturday in a service that reflected Prince Harry's royal heritage, Meghan Markle's biracial roots and the pair's shared commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy.British...

First class for Mississippi school after desegregation deal

CLEVELAND, Miss. (AP) — A small Mississippi Delta town whose rival high schools were combined last year under a desegregation settlement has held its first graduation ceremony.No longer Trojans and Wildcats, they're all Wolves now at Cleveland Central High School, whose seniors collected...


Reggie Lucas, who worked with Miles Davis and Madonna, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, has died. He was 65.The performer's daughter, Lisa Lucas, told The Associated Press that her father died from complications with his heart early...

Broadcast networks go for milk-and-cookies comfort this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — If provocative, psyche-jangling shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" are your taste, head directly to streaming or cable. But if you're feeling the urge for milk-and-cookies comfort, broadcast television wants to help.The upcoming TV season will bring more sitcom nostalgia in the...

Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera said in court documents Friday that it found credible evidence that conductor James Levine engaged in sexually abusive or harassing conduct with seven people that included inappropriate touching and demands for sex acts over a 25-year period.The Met...


Small clubs cross fingers for World Cup windfalls

TORCY, France (AP) — The ideal scenario for the club where Paul Pogba played football as a kid might go...

On time, on target: LeBron, Cavs pound Celtics in Game 3

CLEVELAND (AP) — Before taking the floor, LeBron James stood in the hallway with his teammates outside...

US, China agree to cut American trade deficit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China have agreed to take measures to "substantially reduce"...

Insect ambassadors: Honeybees buzz on Berlin cathedral

BERLIN (AP) — On the roof of Berlin's cathedral, bees are buzzing.Beekeeper Uwe Marth pulls out a honeycomb...

Love and fire: Text of Michael Curry's royal wedding address

WINDSOR, England (AP) — And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and...

Episcopal bishop Curry gives royal wedding an American flair

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Nothing quite captured the trans-Atlantic nature of Saturday's royal wedding as...

By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

Andrew Colas may be young in years but he's been learning about the construction industry since he was old enough to tag along behind his father. Now Colas is seizing the opportunity to put his knowledge to work for communities of color, as the new president of the Oregon branch of the National Association of Minority Contractors.

The University of Oregon graduate says he has two main goals as NAMC Oregon president.

First off, he wants to continue the advocacy work that has helped minority contractors win a fairer share of the work in large construction projects, such as the $39 million Portland Community College Southeast campus expansion.

"I'm really hoping that Portland Public Schools will look to PCC as they begin work on their $450 million bond projects," Colas said. "There is no reason that they can't create real opportunities for minority-owned businesses. It's good for the whole community when all members of our community benefit equally from taxpayer funded projects."
  Colas second priority is bringing more minority youth into well paid construction jobs, and making sure the pathway to management positions is sustainable.

"A lot of kids don't realize the types of salaries you can earn in this industry," he says. "As a project manager you can make $80,000 to $150,000. So one of the things I want to focus on is showing elementary, middle school and high school students the great opportunities that exist.

"Oregon State University has one of the top construction management and engineering programs in the country and actually Portland Community College has developed a construction management program. All the big general contractors in Portland provide internships and they go to those programs for interns, so the opportunities are there."

Colas believes some form of new bridge will be built across the Columbia River within the next five years. But opportunities in construction are set to grow whether or not the project goes forward.  He says NAMCO is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation to strengthen that relationship.

"We can help them in areas where they have failed in the past," he says. "NAMCO has to argue that minority businesses in general have more capacity than ever before and an excellent track record."

Ambitious young people can enter construction either by apprenticing in a trade or by going directly into construction management, Colas says.

"We need to find ways to see more people of color at mid-level positions in all the companies in this town," he says. "Once kids from disadvantaged communities see people of color in management positions they will start to realize, 'I have a real opportunity here.'  Then we will really start to see sustainable change in our industry."

Colas himself might be the perfect ad for the construction industry. A sharp dresser who drives a shiny Acura TL, he's married to a sports agent who splits her time between Portland and Los Angeles.

"There's a sense of pride in the construction industry that's unique," he says. "The projects you are involved in can be there for your lifetime. You can point to them and say, I did that."

Colas says he was lucky to have two nurturing parents and a comfortable Portland childhood.

He attended Whitaker middle school in Northeast Portland, and went to Benson High School, before moving to Lincoln High School in his junior year. With friends from both wealthy and struggling families, Colas learned that success or failure is not always down to personal character: it hinges on the environment you inhabit and the opportunities you are offered – or denied.

Colas also knows what it means to be racially profiled.

"I was stopped 26 times before I was 21, without cause and without getting a ticket," he says.

And while he is president of the family business, Colas Construction, he's also modest about it.

"My sister was my father's first choice for president, but she elected me," he says. "She likes to focus on the office side, so she's vice-president and I'm president. She's the real boss."

Colas' older sister is Aneshka Colas-Dickson, one of the commissioners on the Portland Development Commission. Their father, Hermann Colas Jr., a Haitian immigrant, built the business after a 20-year career with telecommunications company U.S. West. Until recently most of the company's business was in the private sector.

"My father instilled in us a very strong work ethic," Colas said. "He made sure everything he did was quality. We have a great reputation because my father left it that way. And it's critical. Integrity is critical in this business."

Read about the controversial resignation of two longtime NAMCO advocates: Faye Burch and Maurice Rahming

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