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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Tribe among those making bid for Amazon’s second headquarters

Spokane Tribal Business Council chair Carol Evans, center, smiles as she hugs Norah RedFox BrownEagle after the 2016 celebration of the tribe getting final approval from Gov. Jay Inslee for the tribe's long-planned casino. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Amazon actually received two pitches from the Spokane metro area encouraging the online retailer to locate its second headquarters here.

The Spokane Tribe of Indians submitted an independent proposal, separate from the proposal developed by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

In its 30-page proposal, the tribe suggested locating the headquarters on 300 acres it owns on the West Plains. The proposed site is adjacent to the tribe’s $40 million casino project, which is under construction.

The proposal also mentioned the Spokane Tribe’s efforts to develop renewable energy and its status as one of 22 federally designated Promise Zones.

“We are a sovereign nation and would hope to be able to provide different opportunities for Amazon,” said Carol Evans, chairwoman of the tribe’s council.

Evans was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to meet with White House staff about Promise Zones, which were developed during the Obama administration.

Promise Zones are located in rural, urban and tribal communities with high poverty rates. The federal government works with local leaders to create jobs, improve educational opportunities, attract private investment and address other community priorities.

The Spokane Tribe’s proposal lists 20 incentives, including the Promise Zone, said Mike Tedesco, the tribe’s planning and economic development director. He declined to disclose the other incentives, but said tribes are able to offer “competitive advantages” over other governments in terms of economic development perks.

With about 2,900 enrolled members, the Spokane Tribe probably ranks among the smaller entities submitting a proposal to Amazon, which expects to employ about 50,000 workers at the second headquarters within 15 years.

“This isn’t an exercise for those thinking within the box,” Tedesco said.

At least one other Washington tribe submitted a proposal to Amazon. The Tulalip Tribes participated in a regional proposal from King and Snohomish counties and also submitted their own.

The Tulalips offered 400 acres in their Quil Ceda Village north of Everett next to Puget Sound. The tribe suggested a campus with indoor-outdoor work spaces surrounded by natural forest to help Amazon employees escape “cubicle fatigue.” The Tulalips also envisioned self-hailing autonomous driving vehicles to help move people across the campus and an eventual connection to a high-speed light rail system linking Vancouver, B.C., to Seattle and Portland.

Amazon said it received 238 proposals from metro areas across North America. The e-commerce retailer expects to announce its selection next year.