As you may know Interlaken was an active contractor in the City of Portland’s Sheltered Market Program. All participants of that program were graduated out in October of 2011 and the City is in the process of creating a new program to correct issues the disparity study identified. The disparity study pointed out City construction projects awarded had a lack of Women and Minority owned firms being awarded contracts. The City of Portland is trying to correct the disparity by creating a new program for contractors that will provide equal opportunity for MWESB’s. Basically the City of Portland’s goal is create a program to foster growth for small business’s, encourage Women and Minorities to obtain more City contracts and continue to provide oportunities for all certified firms on construction projects. There have been multiple work groups assigned with the task of cultivating ideas and plans to present to City Council. Ultimately the City will fine tune and decide on the schematics of the new program, but small business owners as well as City of Portland employees have been hard at work brainstorming and producing ideas for the City to decide on. I have been in attendence to one of the work groups charged with this task. The meetings have been held every few weeks and finally ideas are starting to come to fruition. To read more on this very important and highly debatable topic click here.