TriMet awards transit project to union-signatory minority contractor

Union construction workers at Raimore Construction gathered for a photo with owner Jeff Moreland, Federal Transportation Administration Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams, and TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey. (Photo courtesy of TriMet)

Dozens of union construction workers from Raimore Construction joined union leaders and local, state, regional and federal officials at a press conference Jan. 23 in Southeast Portland at which TriMet announced the start of the Division Transit Project.

TriMet hired Raimore Construction to be the general contractor on the project, which will bring a high-capacity bus rapid transit line between downtown Portland’s Central Business District and Gresham along a 15-mile stretch of Division Street. Raimore is a minority-owned contractor based in Northeast Portland. The company is signatory with Iron Workers Local 29, Operating Engineers Local 701, Laborers Local 737, Cement Masons Local 555, and the Carpenters Union.

The construction portion of the $175 million Division Transit Project is estimated at $60 to $65 million, and is the largest Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contract issued in Oregon history, TriMet said. It is expected to create 650 construction jobs and more than 780 indirect and induced jobs, and add more than $137.7 million in economic value in the corridor.

Key features include a new bus line to accommodate 60-foot-long articulated buses that have three doors for quicker boarding, room for 60 percent more riders, and space for bikes; construction of 42 transit stations with 83 platforms, and upgraded rider amenities.

TriMet is contributing $40.75 million to the project. The City of Portland will add $17.7 million for the route, Gresham, Multnomah County, and the state contributed another $1 million combined. The largest portion of funding is from the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts capital investment grants program. Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams was at the press conference Jan. 23 to deliver a check for $87.4 million. TriMet also secured nearly $28 million from other federal programs.

“The Division Transit Project is about community—connecting and servicing a diverse community,” said Jeff Moreland, owner of Raimore. “This project is about the pride that comes with being given a real opportunity and being believed in. This project is about economic empowerment and career development through employment. This project is about a company that represents the community, working in the community, in order to serve the community. At Raimore, we don’t do minority participation and inclusion, we actually are minority participation and inclusion.”

The Division Transit Project is expected to open by Fall 2022.

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