Update on NARA Regional facility in Seattle, Washington

NARA in Seattle.
NARA in Seattle.

In the 13 February 2021 RPAC blog on the “Sale and Closure of Seattle’s National Archives Facility Blocked by Federal Judge” (www.recordsadvocate.org/sale-and-closure-of-seattles-national-archives-facility-blocked-by-federal-judge/), RPAC reported that a Judge John C. Coughenour, Senior Judge from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington agreed with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson to block the sale of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Regional Facility in Seattle, Washington.

After months of consulting with local Tribes, stakeholders from across the Pacific Northwest, and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withdrew approval regarding the sale of the Seattle Regional Facility. Moving the Regional Facility out of Seattle would create a burden to those utilizing the Regional Facility, particularly the local Tribes whose records are stored there. Other groups highly inconvenienced would be researchers, state and federal agencies, scientists, universities, and students.

Focus will now turn to either the renovation, upgrading and safety of the building with concern for Archives’ staff and users being safe within the building, or a new location with the same safety concerns. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said in a statement, “the effort to ensure these records remain local and accessible is not over. I encourage Congress to work with OMB on a permanent solution to keep these records in Washington, as well as with NARA and communities throughout our region on ways we can improve archive storage and preserve our state’s historical records for generations to come. It is imperative these groups are engaged and included in all future discussions.”

The Washington Congressional delegation will work together along with others to craft a permanent solution to safeguard the archival records housed in the Seattle Regional Facility.

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Former FGS FORUM columnist for Records Preservation and Access Committee, RPAC charter member, and NGS Life Member.

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