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Port of Portland
Small Business Program
Disparity Study

The Port of Portland is conducting a Disparity Study for its utilization of small Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and Minority, Women, Service Disabled Veteran, & Emerging Small Businesses (MWVESB). This research project is designed to ensure that such firms have equal access to contracting opportunities on Port prime contracts and associated subcontracts. The study will also evaluate barriers to the Port’s contracting and recommend strategies to ensure all firms in the market area have full and fair opportunities to compete for Port contracts and subcontracts.

The study will gather and analyze two types evidence. First, it will examine statistical evidence of the Port’s utilization of DBEs, ACDBES and MWVESBs, the availability of such businesses as a percentage of all firms in the Port’s market area and relevant industries, and whether there are disparities, if any, between the availability of these firms and their utilization on agency contracts and related subcontracts, and throughout the area economy as a whole.

Second, the Study will gather qualitative or anecdotal evidence of any continuing effects of past or present race and sex discrimination, as well as factors necessary for entrepreneurial success, such as access to business capital, bonding, networks, suppliers, etc.
Another important component is a review of the Port’s current DBE, ACDBE and MWVESB race- and gender-neutral programs. Finally, the study will present recommendations for future initiatives and enhancements, including the use of contract goals.

Click here to download the Port of Portland Disparity Study FAQ.

Following a competitive proposal process, the contract for this study has been awarded to Colette Holt & Associates, a nationally recognized expert team on disparity studies and D/M/WBE and ACDBE programs, in conjunction with local partner F.M. Burch & Associates.

How can you be involved? The participation of stakeholder groups and business owners is critical to the study’s outcomes in two important ways.

First, the study team will contact businesses to confirm information on specific contracts and/or to receive any additional contract information that is currently not available or accessible to the Port. This information is critical to developing an accurate analysis of the utilization of DBES, ACDBES and MWVESBs on Port projects. With the support and assistance of business owners, the Study will present a complete picture of the Port’s contracting activities. Some firms will be contacted to provide such data. CHA will work with the firms to make the process as easy as possible.

Second, interested persons can be part of the process for anecdotal data collection by participating in a public meeting, stakeholder group sessions or a focus group of business owners to share experiences and insights. It is very important that all firms and stakeholders, such as industry organizations, community groups and chambers of commerce with an interest in the Port’s contracting activities participate. The information generated from these sessions will be an important component of the analysis of whether DBEs, ACDBES and MWVESBs receive full and fair changes to compete for Port work. In the coming months, the public meeting, stakeholder sessions and business owner interviews will be held at convenient locations throughout the area. To learn about sessions pertinent to your type of business, please email the consultant at