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The Water Bureau is not the first place you would think of looking for a city grant...but they have them

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Amy Williams, of Tumbleweed Infant House on S.E. 70th Avenue, says the SPUR grant shes received from the city has helped her business keep going during the pandemic. Since the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, more than 500 small businesses have benefited from the "Small Business Program for Utility Relief" (SPUR) program from the City of Portland's utility Bureaus – Water, and Environmental Services.

"The City of Portland utility Bureaus partnered with 'Prosper Portland', the city's economic development agency, to develop the program," explained Portland Water Bureau Public Information Officer Jaymee Cuti.

"Created to support small businesses impacted by the public health and economic crisis, 'SPUR' prioritized businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color (BIPOC), and women, childcare providers, and businesses opened as part of Phase 1 of the state's reopening plan."

One of the business owners to whom Ms. Cuti introduced us was Amy Williams of "Tumbleweed Infant House", on S.E. 70th Avenue near Ogden Street in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

"Our costs to operate have increased, while our income has plummeted; so – in order to provide COVID-safe and now AQI-safe care for children 6 weeks to 6 years by [well-qualified] teachers, we were operating at a loss!" Williams explained to THE BEE. "This grant directly supports our capacity to provide good jobs that, in turn, serve our local community of working families.

"As the founder, owner, and director of this program – and as a single mother to two children – I am grateful for programs that aim to recognize and support working mothers, at a time when we are carrying and serving more than is reasonable – especially in fields where 'pay inequality' has a significant impact on the livability of our wages," Williams said.

So now you know such grants are being offered at the city level. The next step is to learn more about the "SPUR" program, online – www.portlandoregon.gov/water/80822


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