TACOMA, WA – The Puyallup Tribe and Amazon.com Inc. have partnered to open a 520,000 sq. ft. sorting center in Fife, WA that is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area and strengthen the tribe’s economic portfolio. The building is expected to launch soon and includes 122 loading docks and 280 trailer stalls. The facility is being built on approximately 41 acres of land owned by the tribe and within Fife’s city limits.
When fully operational, more than 500 people are expected to be employed. Both entities signed a cooperation agreement that among other things says Amazon will support the tribe’s Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) efforts, designed to increase contracting and employment opportunities for Indians on the reservation. Amazon agreed to make the tribe aware of employment opportunities as well as requests for proposals and similar procurement opportunities.
“This will have a long-term impact on our members and generate hundreds of new jobs with great pay and benefits for our region,” said Bill Sterud, Chairman of the Puyallup Tribal Council. “This is exciting. It’s an opportunity to open new career paths in industries like logistics, retail, and technology with a company that is known for innovating.”
The project is also part of the tribe’s long-term economic development plans.
“We have promised our membership that we will diversify our tribe’s revenue streams, to make us more resilient to economic changes and protect our people well into the future,” said Chairman Sterud. “We already have the best casino in the state. In recent years we built a cancer center and natural healing center, and we expanded into cannabis sales. This month we announced our entry into commercial real estate through the purchase of The Ram and C.I. Shenanigans on Ruston Way. This deal is another major step forward. All of these activities bring prosperity to our membership, and as always we are committed to sharing with our neighbors.”
Regulatory departments at the tribe reviewed the Fife project before it moved ahead. Panattoni Development Company Inc. developed the building, which is inclusive of sustainability initiatives including future electric truck charging stations and energy efficient lighting systems. Sterud also noted Amazon’s Climate Pledge, a commitment to be net zero carbon across its business by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.
Tribal Financial Officer Matt Wadhwani, who under Tribal Council’s direction is the staff lead for the Economic Development Team, said the tribe is well-positioned to create more mutually beneficial partnerships. “This deal shows Tribal Council is serious about using our assets, expertise, and vision to align with innovative companies that respect our tribe and share our values,” said Wadhwani.