PCRI Puts Stimulus Funds to Work

February 10, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Wondering where all the government “stimulus” money is being spent?  Some of it is doing good things for Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives’ affordable rental homes in North Portland!

PCRI was awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, or “stimulus”) funding through Portland Housing Bureau and has partnered with Oregon Opportunity Network affiliate member Colas Construction, Inc. to re-roof, re-paint, re-side and rehabilitate 12 rental units at four scattered sites in North Portland.  While all of the units will receive substantial upgrades targeted for overall durability, comfort, energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality, the rehabilitation will provide needed improvements to make six currently vacant units ready to rent.

The rehabilitation of these properties will sustain jobs as well as housing.  From mid-November to mid-January, the construction trades working to frame, paint, side and otherwise improve these homes totaled more than 1,400 hours of work … and they’re still going strong!

This project is a Davis Bacon prevailing wage project which requires meticulous paper work.  Most General Contractors facing the mountains of paper work required on Davis Bacon projects would team with Sub-Contractors that have vast experience on similar projects, as it makes their jobs easier.  COLAS however sees every project that they work on as an opportunity to stimulate the economy by working with small businesses.  Currently COLAS has contracted 50% of the contract dollars with Minority Business Enterprises and as an overall Minority, Woman-Owned or Emerging Small Business participation rate of 58%.

COLAS, with the enormous support of Gail Quail of the Portland Development Commission, has helped eight small businesses work on, in many cases, their first Davis Bacon projects.  PCRI is proud that this project has not only created jobs for several small businesses with the support of the COLAS team, but also these small businesses now have learned the skills necessary to compete on future prevailing wage projects.

PCRI also enlisted Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (also a recipient of stimulus funds) to build fences and tackle other carpentry-based projects which would further improve these rental homes.  Through on-the-job training–like PCRI’s rehabilitation project–and classroom instruction, the Tradeswomen’s pre-apprenticeship program provides yet another opportunity for the project to help individuals learn the skills to obtain living wage jobs and expand their career opportunities.

Upon completion of the rehabilitation, PCRI will showcase before-and-after photos on the PCRI website.

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