COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: High Risk

SPUR Spotlight: SAFE Transportation

Blog post

Highlighting Portland's small businesses as they work through the COVID-19 pandemic


Malcom Ricks and his wife Sheila took over SAFE Transportation 13 years ago, following in the footsteps of Rick’s mentor and predecessor Otis Clark. During a “normal” school year, the 25-year-old transportation company provides busses for approximately 300 special needs children to get to and from school. Ricks grew up with ADHD, which has fueled his passion for the transportation service.  

“SAFE Transportation is about building relationships, trust and taking someone to school who needs the same driver every day. It truly is more than just a transportation company,” said Ricks. 

Without school in session and a decrease in transportation in general, Ricks has had to adjust accordingly. Rather than transporting kids to and from school, the transportation service ensures that folks at a high-risk of contracting COVID-19, such as people who receive dialysis or chemo treatment, can make it to their doctor appointments safely and without worry of catching the virus.  

 “It was a very anxious moment when the COVID-pandemic hit, however we are resilient people and have pressed on,” said Ricks.  

The SPUR credits for their stormwater/water/sewer bill have helped offset some of their rental costs. “We have a good relationship with our landlord, so it was easy to sort out the credits.  The program has helped our landlord, helped our business, and in turn, is helping the overall community,” explained Ricks.  

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