Amazon does not plan to build warehouses in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, a company spokesman said late Friday, on the eve of a planned protest by activists in the neighborhood.
“We are not looking for any sites in the Rainier Valley,” spokeswoman Alisa Carroll wrote in an email. “We weigh a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites to best serve our customers. We often scan multiple locations at the same time and make adjustments based on our operational needs.”
Amazon filed documents with the city of Seattle in April 2021, outlining a plan to replace a Lowe’s home improvement store and a Pepsi plant with two small-scale warehouses spanning 220,000 square feet on 23 acres of land.
The proposal quickly drew criticism from groups who argued that the space could be better used to improve quality of life in the community and that the warehouses could create pollution and other environmental concerns that would disproportionately affect an area with a significant population of people of color.
Despite Amazon’s new message, more than 60 people showed up at a previously planned rally in an abandoned Starbucks parking lot in South Seattle. They were still upset about the company’s proposal to build a pair of warehouses near the Mount Baker light rail station and Franklin High School.
After the rally, South Seattle community organizer Travonna Thompson-Wiley, 31, said Amazon tried to “sneak in” on the community.
She said that an industrial site will not preserve the youth culture in the community. She doesn’t want high school students to give up their passions and end up in a factory with poor working conditions.
She said that the company is not in contact with the communities that live in the area. She said that she wanted the youth in the community to understand that they should pursue their passions and not fall into a factory job because it is close and accessible to them, which the previously planned warehouse would have been.
Amazon has been repeatedly accused of poor working conditions. Activist groups have claimed Amazon falsely claimed that the number of workplace injuries is declining despite a 20% increase in 2021 Y repeated fines for security violations.
“Our community talks about the fact that they need access to more affordable housing. They need access to support and education,” said Thompson-Wiley.
The Mount Baker area is almost like a freeway, so it’s important to look for development that makes it more of a community rather than a drive-thru, said Jamil Suleman, a 38-year-old artist and community organizer from South Seattle. Instead of a warehouse, the area should be used to build a park, youth center or community gardens that will preserve culture and communities of color, Suleman said.
Nationwide, Amazon is more likely to build warehouses in neighborhoods where residents are primarily people of color, according to a December 2021 report. analysis of Consumer Reports.
Among Amazon warehouses, about 69% are located in communities where a higher proportion of people of color live within a one-mile radius. About 57% are in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of low-income residents.
Thompson-Wiley said she and other community members want Amazon to officially withdraw the permit and for the city to rezone the area to prevent another big company from building in it.
“We want the community to continue to work together, to be in community with each other to find powerful people outside and continue to amplify our message,” he said.
This month, Amazon pulled out of a agreement for a load center at Newark Liberty International Airport, following pushback from advocacy groups and unions who wanted Amazon to commit to labor agreements and a zero-emissions benchmark at the facility.
Activists in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also protested Amazon’s expansion into the region, raising concerns about noise, traffic and environmental impact and accusing Amazon of not complying with local ordinances on lighting, parking and zoning. The company withdrew its plans in March.
Amazon now plans sublease some of your storage spaceafter its surge in expansion left it with extra capacity, the company said in May.
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