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Amazon clarifies HQ2 announcement that Northwest is out of the running

Amazon clarifies HQ2 announcement that Northwest is out of the running. (KOMO News)

SEATTLE - The back-pedaling has begun on a potentially revealing moment when Amazon's top leadership said its search for a second headquarters won't include the Pacific Northwest.

Cities have been scrambling to win the coveted role of being Amazon's HQ2 - and that includes many here in Puget Sound. Now it's a question of whether they are simply wasting their time and resources.

The announcement came when Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s worldwide consumer CEO, spoke at the GeekWire Summit.

“We're excited about Seattle but we want another place where we can also grow," Wilke said. “Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest. I mean, it's been terrific for me and my family but I think we may find another location that allows us to recruit a different collection of employees."

Despite the announcement local leaders aren't backing down. Seattle is part of a regional effort spanning King and Snohomish counties to land Amazon's offer. Same goes for Tacoma's partnership with Pierce County and Bremerton's combined bid with the Port of Bremerton.

Still, Wilke's comments touched a nerve and Amazon sent out a clarification that they "will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal" that comes in, “including from communities across the Pacific Northwest."

However, the deadline is looming. Amazon wants applications in by October 19. The winning city should be announced in the early part of next year.

Local leaders reached for this report said there's no downside to courting Amazon with these proposals. Even if they get passed over for HQ2, they might get a shot at a smaller Amazon project in the future. Drafting a competitive bid could also help entice other businesses looking to expand, and the research is being done using existing staff and within their current salaries.

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