Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project reaches key jobs milestone – 5,000 jobs and counting!


Project also reaches new record of $103 million in Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contracts

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project (PMLR) now under construction has reached a new jobs milestone – by creating and maintaining more than 5,000 jobs, and providing a record $103 million in contracts to Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms.

The project is now 40 percent complete, and since the beginning of preliminary engineering in March 2009, the project has:

  • Created 2,749 direct jobs, including 1,816 on-site construction jobs and 933 professional and technical jobs
  • Created 2,511 indirect and induced jobs
  • Contracted with 375 firms:
    • 306 based in Oregon (82 percent)
    • 51 based in Washington (14 percent)
    • Contracted with 106 DBE firms (28 percent of the 375 firms)

“We’re thrilled that the planning and construction of the region’s sixth light rail project is providing job opportunities for local workers and firms,” said TriMet Capital Projects Executive Director Dan Blocher. “This project is making a real difference to our local economy, while we expand and improve our transit system.”

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program reaches milestone

DBE_Contract_Value_By_ProjectTriMet has also reached a new record in its minority and small business DBE program.  A record $103 million in PMLR contracts have been awarded to date to firms owned by people of color and women. This is 13 percent of the $772 million in total contract value committed through Feb. 2013.

Firms that have worked on previous TriMet rail projects have returned to help build PMLR. Liberty Steel Erectors of Northeast Portland first worked on the MAX Green Line project that opened in 2009. For PMLR, Liberty Steel has $2.5 million in contracts for work on several aspects of the project, including the installation of cables for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge. These contracts enabled Liberty Steel’s owner Gil Carreon to hire four additional employees.

“TriMet and the contractors have created opportunities for small firms to compete for contracts that would otherwise have gone to larger firms,” said Carreon, “There is a real commitment to engage DBE firms and in turn, we create more jobs.”


Just Bucket, based in Albany Ore. is a subcontract for the PMLR project.

Expansion of the DBE program also offers opportunities for smaller companies such as Just Bucket Excavation of Albany, Ore. In October 2012, Just Bucket won an $8.2 million duct-bank excavation subcontract for the PMLR project. The contract is twice the size of its previous largest contract. This is Just Bucket’s first contract with TriMet and Stacy and Witbeck, Inc., the prime contractor.

To staff up for the contract, Just Bucket owner Willie Davis, Jr. added three journey-level operators and three laborers. “Four of those six were employees who had been laid off,” Davis noted.

Setting new records

Since TriMet created its innovative DBE program in the year 2000, participation has grown. The MAX Yellow Line that opened in 2004 reached $36 million in DBE contracts. The MAX Green Line project that opened in 2009 reached a record $58 million.

“TriMet’s DBE program demonstrates that a dedication to the entire community brings real results that benefit us all,” said Johnell Bell, Director of Diversity and Transit Equity for TriMet. “We continue to raise the bar to expand our reach into communities of color and women-owned firms.”

About the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

The 7.3-mile project is the region’s sixth MAX construction project to be built and extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University in Downtown Portland to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County. About the project:

  • 7.3 miles
  • 10 stations
  • The first of its kind multi-modal bridge will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension over the Willamette River, but no private vehicles.
  • TriMet’s share of the $1.49 billion project is less than 5 percent.
  • Opens in September 2015
  • Expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations

Project partners

The Federal Transit Administration, State of Oregon, Clackamas County, Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.