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Washington’s attorney general seeks injunction in National Archives building sale

Jan 8, 2021

The National Archives and Records Administration facility in Seattle is earmarked for closure and to be sold in an effort to cut federal spending. The Office of Washington state’s Attorney General filed a motion to seek a preliminary injunction to block the sale. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)

Washington state’s attorney general and a legal coalition of 40 Tribes, states and community organizations filed a motion (January 7, 2021) to block the sale of the National Archives building in Seattle.

The facility houses an immense collection of historical documents and records, including records about Alaska and the Indigenous peoples of the area.

The museum also contains documents regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the Japanese internment camps of World War II.

In January 2020, a five-person panel earmarked the facility and 11 others to liquidate to help cut federal costs.

This is the second time a collection of Alaska archives and records has been moved in recent years. 

In 2014, these records were located at a National Archives facility in Anchorage which closed. The current sale would split the collection between Missouri and California.

The motion seeking a preliminary injunction on the sale is one of several filings the office of Washington state’s attorney general have made.

In addition the office is suing the federal government, citing that it failed to give Tribes and Tribal organizations prior notice of the sale and provided no consultation.

A number of Freedom of Information Act requests have been made seeking documents and records surrounding the sale.