Mayor Curtis' Remarks at Project Kuiper Ribbon-Cutting

Published on June 28, 2024

Ribbon cutting event for Project Kuiper

Good morning, everyone.  I’m Kelli Curtis, and it’s my pleasure to serve as Mayor of the City of Kirkland.  I’d like to briefly introduce my colleagues on the Council. 

On behalf of this Council, welcome to Kirkland!   Or should I say, welcome to the “Pittsburgh of the West!”

Now this is likely an odd reference, and one that some of you might not be familiar with.  But “Pittsburgh of the West” was the vision of Peter Kirk, the British-born steel tycoon for whom Kirkland is named.

Mr. Kirk envisioned a bustling community on the eastern shores of Lake Washington whose main economy would be focused on steel production.  Although Kirkland never grew to compete with the Pittsburgh of the East, industry and manufacturing have nonetheless been an integral part of Kirkland’s history.  Specifically, Kirkland has a long and robust history of shipbuilding.

Kirkland's ship-building industry began on the Lake Washington waterfront with the construction of ferries. For 20 years, most of the boats on Lake Washington were either built or repaired in the Kirkland area.  The famous Kalakala ferry was built in Kirkland and launched in 1935.  And by 1940, Kirkland's Lake Washington Shipyard was building warships for the U.S. Navy. More than 25 warships were built during World War II on what is now Carillon Point. 

Now I know we didn’t come here today to learn about the past.  We came to celebrate the future. 

However, I can’t help but find a certain poetic throughline from Kirkland’s founding to today’s ribbon-cutting. Before, Kirkland was a hub of manufacturing for our regional maritime economy.  And now, Amazon’s partnership with Project Kuiper ensures Kirkland’s place in the future of our regional space economy. 

I can’t wait to see where Kirkland’s future will take us together.

We are so grateful for Amazon’s continued partnership and investment in Kirkland.  I was recently at the groundbreaking for the Ardea affordable housing development less than a mile from here, a future home for seniors that was made possible by Amazon’s generous investment in housing.

And now with today’s ribbon-cutting of this brand-new Project Kuiper facility, we see – again – Amazon’s commitment to our community. 

Amazon’s choice to manufacture satellites here in Kirkland is an incredible investment in our community.  Local manufacturing contributes significantly to our city’s economic growth.  It will make jobs.  It will make careers.  It will continue to put Kirkland on the map for technological innovation.  And it will open new doors of opportunity for those who live here now, as well as for those that will one day call Kirkland home.

Thank you all for being here today to celebrate this incredible investment in Kirkland’s future.