State of Washington Plans to Fight Plans to Sell the Seattle National Archives Branch Building

NARA in Seattle.
National Archives, Washington, DC

On 4 December 2020, Washington State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, announced he intends to try and prevent the sale of the National Archives facility in Seattle with a lawsuit.

In January 2020, the Public Buildings Reformed Board of the Federal Government announced the National Archives Branch Facility would be sold and the records would be transferred to either Kansas City, Missouri, or Riverside, California, distances of 1,800 or 1,200 miles respectively. The Public Building Reform Board was established by statute on 16 December 2016 to identify opportunities for the Federal government to reduce its inventory of real property and thus reduce costs. RPAC specifically requested that another facility be found and the records relocated before the building is sold, so the records would still be accessible by residents in the Pacific northwest.

On 23 January 2020, the Records Preservation and Access Committee wrote a letter to the Public Buildings Reformed Board emphasizing the importance of keeping a National Archives facility in the Seattle area. The National Archives Branch includes original documents available at no other location. Few of these records have been digitized including tribal records important to many Native Americans. Tribal officials were never consulted about the proposed sale.

National Archives Branch facilities are very important to genealogists. RPAC will keep you advised of any progress on this issue.

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Jan Alpert

Chair of the Records Preservation and Access Committee, former president and board member of the National Genealogical Society, and chair of the NGS conference committee.

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