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ODOT reveals DBE contracting success, with room for improvement

Oregon Department of Transportation
ODOT employees at the 2019 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conference in Salem.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s program for disadvantaged business enterprises has exceeded its contracting goal for this year. These enterprises consist of minority and women owned businesses.

Over the past fiscal year, ODOT’s goal was for 15% of federally funded contract work to go to minority and women owned businesses. The goal was surpassed, with 22% of that work going to those enterprises.

Nate McCoy is the executive director of the Oregon chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors. Though he’s glad to see that ODOT has surpassed its goal, he said there’s still a long way to go to ensure equity among contractors.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of getting women owned - almost predominantly white women owned - firms a ton of work,” McCoy said. “I think it lags when we talk about minority disadvantaged firms bidding at the same levels.”

ODOT’s goal for the next fiscal year is even higher. The agency is aiming for a 23% participation rate among disadvantaged businesses.

Jasmine Lewin joined KLCC as a freelance reporter in 2022. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Lewin wrote for the University of Oregon quarterly magazine Ethos before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She likes to spend her free time birdwatching, doing crossword puzzles, and watching scary movies.
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