AG Ferguson to host public meeting Tuesday re the Fed's plan to sell Seattle's National Archives building and move the records to Missouri and California

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Seattle branch of the National Archives on Sand Point Way
Photo courtesy Archives.gov


Attorney General Bob Ferguson will host a remote public meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, so the public can share their comments on plans by the federal government to sell Seattle’s National Archives building and move the records thousands of miles away.

The federal government did not hold any meetings of its own in the Pacific Northwest, and did not consult with state, local, or tribal leaders in the region prior to announcing its decision to sell the Archives facility.


One member of the Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB) recently said the sale would allow the Archives building to “become a part of the community, as opposed to what it is today.”
 

The office will record the public comments and forward them to the PBRB. Ferguson will also formally invite the PBRB members to attend the remote public hearing. The public meeting will be held via Zoom from 3:30pm to 5:30pm on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Zoom link:https://atg-wa.zoom.us/j/83852186385?pwd=amIvSHA4MHJJdzRVcDgzRSthQjdpQT09
Meeting ID: 838 5218 6385
Passcode: 426894
Phone: 253-215-8782, 838-521-863-85#
Find your local number:https://atg-wa.zoom.us/u/kBnoJrmI5
 
Individuals with questions about the meeting or looking to provide assistance with the case should use this form.
 
Cabinets are full of microfilm and microfiche records


On December 4, 2020 Ferguson announced that his office recently uncovered a dramatic change in the plan for the proposed sale of the National Archives building buried in a 74-page meeting minutes document from October. During the October meeting, the PBRB disclosed that it would move to immediately sell the Archives facility, along with a “portfolio” of other federal properties, in early 2021. It had planned on selling the properties individually over the next year.

Ferguson’s legal team is finalizing a lawsuit to stop the federal government from proceeding with an expedited sale of the National Archives facility in Seattle.

Additionally, Ferguson’s office already filed four lawsuits seeking access to public records about the PBRB’s decision. Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington will preside over the four cases. On Dec. 10, Ferguson filed a motion for summary judgment in the records case against the PBRB.
 
In January, OMB approved a recommendation from the PBRB to sell the building on Sand Point Way in Seattle. 

The board’s recommendation included removing the contents of the Seattle archives and relocating them to facilities in Kansas City, Mo., and Riverside, Calif.
The Seattle archives contain many records essential to memorializing Washington’s history, including tens of thousands of records related to the Chinese Exclusion Act, records of the internment of Japanese Americans, and tribal and treaty records of federally recognized tribes throughout the Northwest.

Researchers, historians, genealogists and students routinely use these records.



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