Judge Grants Temporary Reprieve for Northwest Federal Archives


Cheers from historians, academics and tribal members echoed across the region on Friday when U. S. District Judge John Coughenour granted an injunction halting the impending sale of the National Archives property in Northeast Seattle.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson sought the temporary injunction to allow time for courts to consider four lawsuits reversing a Trump administration plan to sell the archives’ building and land off Sand Point Way and ship nearly a million boxes of Northwest history a thousand miles away. Here’s my earlier article on the controversy.

Judge Coughenour, once a top litigator at Bogle & Gates in Seattle, was President Ronald Reagan’s first appointment to the federal bench in Washington. As my Post Alley colleague Joel Connelly points out, Judge Coughenour is a famous disciplinarian, feared by lawyers who prepare too hastily. He does not rule lightly, which may signal that he believes the Ferguson lawsuits are likely to prevail. 

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Jean Godden wrote columns first for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and later for the Seattle Times. In 2003, she quit to run for Seattle City Council where she served 12 years. She now writes for Westside Seattle and has been a co-host on The Bridge, aired on community radio station KMGP. You can email tips and comments to Jean at jgodden@blarg.net.


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