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September 15, 2017

Black-Owned Construction Firm Scores $27 Million Convention Center Contract in a City That is Only 6% Black

Hermann Colas, founder of Colas Construction, with his executive team
Hermann Colas, founder of Colas Construction, with his executive team
Colas Construction, a Black-owned construction firm based in Portland, Oregon, has just scored the largest contract ever awarded to a minority-owned business by the city. Their contract is worth $27 million dollars, and will require the firm to serve as construction manager-general contractor for the Plaza, Entries and Interiors project at the Oregon Convention Center.

A big win for the local Black community

As can be imagined, there are not that many African-Americans that live in the state of Oregon. However, the Black population in the city of Portland is 6% according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Unfortunately, like many others across the country, they have historically been discriminated against and forced to endure various injustices.

For example, when the convention center was originally built in the 1980's, many Black-owned homes were torn down so that their land could be used. Even more, activists say that hardly none of the construction jobs for the convention center went to people from the dislocated communities.

"It's great that 30 years later, we have two African-American-led contractors finally getting the opportunity to work on the convention center," said Tony Jones, executive director of the Metropolitan Contractor Improvement Partnership.

Celebrating 20 years of success

Colas Construction was founded in Oregon in 1997 by entrepreneur Hermann Colas, an immigrant from Haiti. Today, however, his son Andrew runs the business and his daughter Aneshka is the company's vice president and CFO.

Over the past 20 years, Colas Construction has continued to build top quality projects. Their portfolio includes ground up and renovation of affordable housing, mixed use, tenant improvements and various commercial projects. They were even once awarded a contract to rehabilitate one of Portland's light rail stations.

For more details about Colas Construction, visit