First Advisor

Karen J. Gibson

Term of Graduation

Spring 2006

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Entrepreneurship -- Oregon -- Portland, Social entrepreneurship -- Oregon -- Portland, Urban Community development -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, ix, 175 pages)


This study focused on a minority coalition formed in 2002 to secure municipal parking lot contracts in the City of Portland, Oregon. It is grounded in Bates and Howell's (1998) theory of barriers to minority entrepreneurship. The minority group's actions are applied to Butler (1991), Prabhu (1999), and Dees' (2001) theory of social entrepreneurship. The formation of the coalition provides empirical support for Allport (195411979) and Pettigrew's (1998) positive intergroup contact theory.

The creation of minority group coalitions for community economic development purposes, using the chamber of commerce structure, adds to the community economic development literature. Further, the intercultural communication field has not focused on minority coalition building, only intercultural conflict management, therefore this study begins to fill a gap in that field.

The Alliance of Minority Chambers of Commerce (AMC) consists of the African-American, Hispanic and Philippine-American Chambers and was formed to secure municipal parking lot contracts to enhance their community economic development goals. The AMC partnered with an established parking company and persuaded the City to make substantial changes in the proposal processes. These changes allowed them to compete against an entrenched network who held the contracts for over twenty years. The AMC used their profits from the contracts to operate their chambers and fund community development projects such as college scholarships and to enhance the entrepreneurial skills of their constituencies.

This study addresses the formation of the AMC and factors contributing to the absence of racial group competition. The study also outlines barriers faced by the AMC as they competed for and won the contracts. And, the study examines the effects of the racial and political context of Portland on the formation of the AMC and their securing the contracts.

The study was conducted using the case study method. Newspaper articles, city documents, city council meeting transcripts and interviews were examined. The qualitative method of constant comparison was used to build the case.

Two sets of strategies emerged from the case study findings; intercultural coalition development strategies and community economic development strategies. Policy recommendations include encouragement of coalitions and auditing bid proposals for unnecessary barriers.


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