Helping Oregon small businesses recover during cleanup process
Oregon’s workforce, including many underserved and disadvantaged Oregon businesses, are part of the communities devastated by the 2020 wildfires. Ensuring these groups have meaningful and equitable opportunities to participate in wildfire recovery work is one of the key values that drives the Debris Management Task Force.
In this spirit, we’ve required prime contractors to demonstrate how they will support local community needs and workforces and how they will contribute to small business growth through diversity plans and regular status reports due each month. Diversity plans are unique to each prime contractor and include commitments to utilizing local businesses, developing and mentoring small certified firms, utilizing local office space and services, and giving back to the communities in which they are working.
Prime contractors are contractually obligated to provide this information and demonstrate to the Oregon Department of Transportation how they are meeting their individual diversity goals throughout the entirety of the operation.
Oregon-based K&E Excavation — the prime contractor for ash and debris removal on the Beachie Creek/Lionshead, Echo Mountain, Riverside, 242, Obenchain and Archie Creek fires — currently has the highest percentage of Oregon resident employees at 100%. They are followed by Suulutaaq Inc. — the prime contractor for hazard tree removal on the Holiday Farm, Beachie Creek/Lionshead and Riverside fires — at 90%. Currently, 51% of the overall contracted workforce on all Task Force operations are minority, woman, or small business-owned contractors and 95% are Oregon-based businesses.
As cleanup continues, partnering with Oregon-based companies helps us with the physical rebuilding while ensuring our businesses can continue to thrive. As we move from cleanup to rebuilding, these community businesses help keep our economy healthy while Oregon gets back on its feet.