Amazon agrees to meet with Seattle, regional leaders

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

SEATTLE — Online retail giant Amazon has agreed to meet with Seattle and regional leaders for a closer, more productive relationship.

The Seattle Times reports that Amazon has responded to a letter sent by the region's leaders in October. In a letter back to the region, Amazon says it would like to meet at its Seattle headquarters for a roundtable discussion to chat about the "challenges and opportunities ahead for the city and how we can best work together on them."

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“With over 40,000 employees, we recognize our unique position as the city’s largest private employer. We estimate our investment in Seattle from 2010 to 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy…” the letter states. It is signed by Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy at Amazon.

On October 13, a letter signed by 25 regional leaders was sent to Amazon, largely in response to the company’s decision to build HQ2 — a second headquarters away from Seattle. Some in the area have speculated that Amazon’s intentions for a second headquarters was a subtle message to Seattle leaders. The letter appears to be an attempt to smooth things over with the company.

The letter to Amazon said:

To the extent that this decision was based on Amazon feeling unwelcome in Seattle, or not being included in some of our regional decisions, we would like to hit the refresh button. You have heard mixed messages from our community, whether it stems from comments in our local newspapers or comments from elected officials who have differing views and positions that are less than collaborative. This does not leave a good taste in anyone's mouth. Those of us who are signing onto this letter want you to know we have heard you. We also want you to stay with us and grow with us, both in Seattle and with our sister cities across the state.

The letter was signed by five Seattle council members, including Sally Bagshaw, Bruce Harrell, Lisa Herbold, Lorena Gonzalez, and Rob Johnson; as well as members of the King County Council and the Port of Seattle, state representatives, senators, and presidents of local schools and colleges.

It’s not the only contact from the area’s leaders that Amazon has had. King and Snohomish counties put in a bid for HQ2 in an attempt to keep the jobs in the region.