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SPUR Small Business Spotlight: Escuela Viva

A woman and three kids

Angie Garcia opened Escuela Viva when she was in need of child care for her two-year-old daughter. Sixteen years later, the dual-language pre-school in North and Southeast Portland is serving 70 families through the pandemic. It is operating as an emergency child care for essential workers.

“There are many amazing things about our childhood education program. Some people might think it’s the dual language but that’s just the icing on the cake. Our community is the cake,” said Garcia.

Despite strong community support, Garcia says Escuela Viva has been struggling to stay afloat because of the stringent and costly protocols that the school must adhere to and the changes in enrollment since the pandemic began.

“We’re an essential part of the infrastructure. If we fail,” Garcia said, “where will the workforce take their children when the economy opens back up?”

Garcia estimates that the SPUR bill credits will cover her sewer/stormwater/water bill for the rest of the year. “To find out we were selected was wonderful,” she said. “We’re struggling but very blessed to have the community’s support.”

Escuela Viva is one of more than 500 small businesses that received one-time credits through the Small Business Program for Utility Relief (SPUR).