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Councilmember Debora Juarez Applauds City’s Intent to Join Lawsuit Against National Archives Closure

SEATTLE Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle) applauded the City of Seattle’s intention to join as a plaintiff in Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit to stop the federal government from selling the National Archives facility in Seattle. 

A.G. Ferguson announced last month that his team was moving forward with the lawsuit to stop the expedited sale of the National Archives facility on Sand Point Way in North Seattle.

“I want to thank Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes for his leadership in having the City take a stand in support of Seattle’s history. Moving these critical historical documents out of state removes precious records from the Pacific Northwest, and would put the onus on our communities to travel far to access these vital records. This decision was made without consulting the public and does not account for the harmful impacts for state, local and tribal governments who depend on this resource to learn from the past. Our future generations depend on a shared history, based on truth, that is accessible to all,” Juarez said.

Councilmember Juarez also recognized Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who has monitored the issue on behalf of Seattle residents when the issue was first raised last year.

“We must not allow the last gasps of the Trump Administration to cause any more harm and that means we must work together to save the archives by preserving these priceless historical records here in the Northwest,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who represents the City Council District where the National Archives facility is located. “I am proud to support Attorney General Bob Ferguson, indigenous leaders, nonprofits and researchers protecting historical records, and fellow public officials such as Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Councilmember Debora Juarez in efforts to stop the sale of the vital facility and to demand proper public process on how best to preserve these irreplaceable regional histories.”

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said, “The Seattle branch of the National Archives is filled with treasured local records that document the history of tribal treaty negotiations, Japanese internment, immigration, and other subjects that impact our community. A cross country relocation of non-digitized records would cause Seattle residents and the Seattle Public Library great harm, which is why I intend to sign the City of Seattle onto this lawsuit. My thanks to Councilmembers Juarez and Pedersen, the Seattle Public Library, the tribal plaintiffs, and the Attorney General for their strong advocacy for local access to these vital records.”   

“Keeping the National Archives collection here in the Northwest is so important for our region’s students, news media, native tribes, authors, attorneys, historians, genealogists and government agencies at all levels,” said Marcellus Turner, Chief Librarian for The Seattle Public Library. “These records help us understand and stay connected to our past while we look toward our future. I truly hope these invaluable archives can remain right here in the Pacific Northwest where they belong.”

This afternoon, January 19, the Attorney General’s Office hosted a remote public hearing so the public could comment on the federal government’s plan to sell the National Archives building in Seattle and move the records. 

AG Ferguson heard from members of the public, researchers, and tribal community members on the negative impact the move would have. 

The state of Oregon, 29 northwest tribes and numerous community organizations have joined the lawsuit as well. 

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