AWS proudly supports the communities where we operate. More than a decade ago, when AWS announced the launch of data centers in eastern Oregon, we established a long-term commitment to being an active member in the local communities. Since then, AWS has remained committed to the community, helping businesses and local residents continue to grow and thrive.
Our economic commitment
As part of AWS’s commitment to the people of eastern Oregon, we have devoted more than $15.6 billion in capital investment from 2012 through 2021. This investment has helped support thousands of local jobs in Oregon’s Morrow and Umatilla counties. (Review the Economic Impact Study (EIS) here.) In addition, with the construction of our data centers, AWS brought more than $1.1 billion to the local gross domestic product (GDP) in Morrow and Umatilla Counties from 2012 through 2021.
[Amazon payments] added family wage jobs to Hermiston while paying for community assets, including a water tower and new city hall, without the use of additional taxpayer dollars.
The economic impact from our financial investments reverberates locally in many ways—through the allocation of the tax dollars we contribute, the jobs created and supported, and the investments through construction and operation. AWS contributes the most tax dollars in both Morrow and Umatilla counties, and millions of dollars through our agreements with the counties have supported public organizations such as Boardman Fire Rescue, Morrow Education Foundation, Blue Mountain Community College, Umatilla Morrow Radio & Data District, Oregon Trail Library, and parks in Boardman and Irrigon.
Dr. Dave Drotzmann, mayor of Hermiston, noted that Amazon payments via our land use agreements “added family wage jobs to Hermiston while paying for community assets, including a water tower and new city hall, without the use of additional taxpayer dollars.”
AWS’s investments have created or supported thousands of jobs in sectors like telecommunications, software development, facilities maintenance, and electricity generation within the AWS supply chain. Along with these jobs, our data centers directly employ more than 1,800 full-time employees across both counties.
The ripple effect of our investment goes further than supporting jobs and bringing financial benefits to the people of eastern Oregon. AWS has developed partnerships with local schools and organizations that share our commitment to science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education, equity, and access. For example, AWS partnered with Greater Oregon STEM (GO-STEM) to mail STEM kits to fourth graders across the region and launch a Mobile Maker Lab.
Our AWS InCommunities programs, including AWS Girls’ Tech Day, AWS Think Big Spaces, and We Build It Better, use AWS’s unique resources to expand access to STEAM learning opportunities. To date, AWS has invested in four AWS Think Big Spaces, including the SAGE Center in Boardman, a space at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), a space in Hermiston, and recently, a new space at Umatilla High School. Through these spaces, AWS helps provide STEAM education access to approximately 8,000 students and provides opportunities for AWS employee volunteers to meet with community members and discuss career opportunities at our data centers.
Overall, AWS donated $2 million to organizations in eastern Oregon via AWS InCommunities in 2022. This includes a recent $100,000 donation to the Stepping Stones Alliance for the city of Umatilla’s Practical Assistance Through Transitional Housing (PATH) project. The Stepping Stones Alliance addresses the increasing need for support services and shelter for community members in eastern Oregon, and the PATH project includes resources for the development of stable housing for those most in need.
AWS also extends educational offerings into job creation and workforce development initiatives. For example, AWS collaborated locally with Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) to establish the Data Center Technician Training program, providing two-day training courses on developing skills for the fiber optic industry. Scholarships are offered for this program, and in 2022, AWS doubled the total amount granted to the school to disperse among qualified participants from $50,000 to $100,000.
AWS employee volunteers
Our commitment also is felt through the impact that our employees are making in the communities.
In 2022, AWS sponsored the Umatilla High School Robotics team trip to the national championship, and our employee volunteers regularly participate throughout the robotics season as mentors for students. In addition, our data center employees contributed more than 2,320 volunteer hours across eastern Oregon last year.
During Earth Month this year, nearly 100 AWS employees volunteered with local organizations to support community cleanup events, which is a part of regular cleanup days. In addition, AWS employees have adopted a local highway in Boardman and have made a long-term commitment to keeping it clean.
AWS is committed to sustainable solutions worldwide. In Oregon, we collaborated with local leaders to develop a sustainable solution to recycle water from our data centers. We provide up to 96% of the cooling water from our data centers to local farmers, at no charge, to help grow crops like corn, soybean, and wheat. Last year, AWS announced that our operations would be water positive by 2030, returning more water to communities than we use in direct operations.
Amazon’s energy supply from our utilities, combined with our renewable energy procurement across the United States, has enabled several AWS data center regions—including Oregon—to be powered with at least 95% renewable energy. Recently, we partnered with Umatilla Electric Cooperative (UEC)—the electric cooperative serving AWS in Umatilla and Morrow Counties—to create an innovative solution that safely and reliably powers our data centers in the region and keeps Amazon on a path to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2025.
We are proud of the work we have done in the communities where we operate, and the investments we have made in eastern Oregon. We believe this is only the beginning. At AWS, we are committed to do more for our neighbors and local communities, and we are proud to call Oregon home.
Learn more about AWS's impact in eastern Oregon.