Judge blocks sale and closure of National Archives in Seattle; notes ‘public relations disaster’ by feds

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Judge blocks sale and closure of National Archives in Seattle; notes ‘public relations disaster’ by feds

Seattle Times reporter

US District Court judge John Coughenour issued an injunction Friday morning to stop the sale of the Seattle National Archives.

He asked Brian C. Kipnis, a US assistant attorney in Seattle, if anyone was on the five-member public building reform committee in the Pacific Northwest.

This is the little-known company that few have heard of and that has recommended closing the Seattle archives. The board was formed in 2016 to find out what it considers excess federal assets.

Kipnis said he didn’t know.

Coughenour said the government could have avoided a “public relations disaster” if it had shown “some degree of sensitivity” to the impact of the closure on the Northwest.

The Washington Attorney General’s office, Bob Ferguson, along with 29 tribes and various groups, filed a lawsuit on Jan. 4 to declare the sale illegal. However, it could take a while for this lawsuit to weave its way through the courts and petition for an injunction.

After declaring the 10 acre site on Sand Point Way Northeast in Seattle as surplus, the federal government plans to move 800,000 cubic feet of archival records from here to facilities in Kansas City, Missouri (1,840 miles away) and Riverside, California (1,200 miles) embarrassed way). There are millions of document boxes in the archives, only a tiny part of which has been digitally scanned.

The history of 272 nationally recognized tribes in Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Idaho, as well as all federal records maintained in the Pacific Northwest, including military, land, judicial, tax, and census records, will be postponed. The collection also contains more than 50,000 original files related to the Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882.

Coughenour also asked Kipnis what he knew about this quote in a Seattle Times story Thursday from a White House Bureau of Administration and Budget spokesman: “Consultation with the tribes is a priority for this administration, and we will investigate further Tribes were consulted on this proposal under the previous administration. “

Kipnis replied, “I can tell you that this statement is true.”

This evolving story will be updated.