Metro Inequities in Contracting

Oregon Governor Kate BrownCurrent and former employees at Business Oregon want governor Kate Brown to fix the agency’s “bro club” culture, says an April 2018 article published in Portland’s Willamette Week.

The NAACP and other civil rights groups have long concerned themselves with the disproportionately low number of state, local and metro government contracts awarded to businesses owned by minorities and women (MWESB). This contributes to the disparities between the economic well-being of whites and minorities in Oregon, as documented in a recent study by researchers at Portland State University. In reviewing government contracts awarded 2009-2013, years of economic recovery, the study found that 2.1 percent went to firms owned by African Americans, versus 83.5 percent to white-owned firms. Latino-owned firms won 6.7 percent of the contracts, Native Americans 3.4 percent, and Asians 4.4 percent.” Pie Chart of Awards to MWESB firms by Race

These numbers are concerning. This unsettling profile report documented pervasive problems with minority contracting practices improving access to contracts by businesses of color because the vast majority of awards go to emerging small businesses and women-owned businesses. This pattern clearly extends to the State of Oregon and needs immediate attention.”