We find a significant alteration of the surface properties of SI- GaAs as a result of a thermal treatment with SiO under vacuum. Low temperature photoluminescence measurements reveal a tenfold increase in emissions attributed to free or donor bound excitons and the exciton bound to a silicon acceptor. A paramagnetic center is also generated as a result of this treatment. The EPR signal has a g-value of 2.0017 and a linewidth of 0.1 mT. The enhanced photoluminescence and the EPR signal are both quenched by a short exposure to hydrogen plasma at room temperature. Chemical and spectroscopic evidence indicates that the resonance is due to a silicon related center near the GaAs surface. The surface stabilization is attributed to a reaction or incorporation of SiO with the arsenic depleted GaAs surface.