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Washington State Official to Fight Trump Plan to Sell Seattle National Archives Building

7 Dec 2020 11:37 AM | Anonymous

The following is a message posted to the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies') Public Records Access Monitoring Committee mailing list and is republished here with the IAJGS' permission:

Earlier this year, the IAJGS Records Access Alert informed its readers that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approved closing its facility in Seattle—without any public input. The sale is  due to the recommendation for sale by the Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB)and approved sale by the Office of Management and Budget. See:

 The original announcement said it was expected to take 18 months for the sale and NARA requested to stay in the building for an additional three years. The records move would be National facilities in Riverside, California -over 1,000 miles away.  While some of the records have been digitized they are not many and this would severely hamper access for people in the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State. Priceless Tribal records are also housed in the building—many are the tribal treaties or maps in existence. Other very essential records include tens of thousands of records related to  the Chinese Exclusion Act, records of internment of Japanese Americans, records memorializing Washington’s history. 

An article from KOMO News in Seattle on December 4th states the state officials plan to fight the Trump Administration plan to sell the Seattle archives building. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he intends to try and prevent the sale via lawsuit…the building’s sale was buried in the fine print of a 74-page meeting minutes from October.

While initially, the federal government said it would sell the National Archives building and other federal government buildings in Seattle individually, newly uncovered plans call for selling them immediately as a bundled unit.

To read more see:

Thank you to Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG and president of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council for sharing the aforementioned article with us. 

To read the previous IAJGS Records Access Alert postings about the Seattle, WA NARA Building pending sale and removal of documents to 1,000 miles away go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at:  You must be registered to access the archives. To register for the IAJGS Records Access Alert go to:  You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized. It is required to include your organization affiliation (genealogy organization, etc.)

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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