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Dear Amazon, don’t come here

HQ2 only brings problems to Pittsburgh

Written By Beth Turnbull, Co-Opinions Editor

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Dear Amazon,

I love you and, like many college students, I wouldn’t survive without your discounted textbooks and two-day shipping. Although my bank account could probably use a break from your “Buy With One Click” feature, I will never quit you.

I’m not alone in my reliance on your services. You have become so successful that it’s time for you to expand. You’re looking to buy your second home, your second headquarters or “HQ2” as you’re calling it. Hundreds of cities are vying for your love and affection. Only seven states declined to pitch.

Even Pittsburgh has thrown its horse in the race and, I must admit, I’m afraid of what might happen to this unique city.

The citizens of Seattle, where your current headquarters stand, are counting the days until you make that move–maybe then they will have some room to breathe. When you settled in Seattle, you brought jobs and innovation, but you also brought higher housing costs, a huge population influx and a whole lot of traffic. Seattleites are warning cities not to vy for your affections so ardently. They’ve seen the impact you can have–both positive and negative.

So how can Pittsburgh survive you? With our population of just over 300,000, your 50,000 new jobs could completely overwhelm us. Our biggest employer, UPMC, employs 80,000 people across 30 hospitals, 600 doctor’s offices and 23 senior care facilities. Imagine 50,000 people working in one centralized campus.

Where would the campus be located? Oakland, which is already packed with the University of Pittsburgh, Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University and several UPMC medical centers and hospitals? Downtown, where very few people live and nearly every business closes by 6 p.m.? East Liberty, which would ultimately force people who live in nearby lower-income areas out of their homes? I can’t think of a single neighborhood out of Pittsburgh’s 90 that would be a good fit for you.

Pittsburgh has a unique history. Everyone knows how it was forged in steel and is now a hotspot for colleges and hospitals. We are proud of how far we’ve come, but we are even prouder of how we got here. I don’t want neighborhoods being bought and sold and turned into corporate clones where you can’t distinguish one block from the next. I don’t want us to become indistinguishable from Silicon Valley (not considering the obvious differences in weather.)

If you decide to make us your new home, I will welcome you with an open mind, maybe you’ll do business differently here. I will be grateful for the new jobs, but I will be wary of you. I hope that if you come to Pittsburgh, you will learn about us and do your best to live with us in harmony, even if I have to call on the spirit of Fred Rogers to teach you how to be a good neighbor.

We will not become Amazon City.

Thank you for your consideration.

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