Northwest Congressfolk Team Up to Keep Federal Archives in Seattle


Last Wednesday, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell joined six other senators and 17 representatives from four Northwest states in sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget. The delegations urged reversal of an earlier decision to sell the National Archives property on Seattle’s Sand Point Way Northeast.

It was a rare display of bipartisan cooperation uniting all but one of the region’s congressional representatives. If successful, a reversal would prevent a sale of the building and land. Most importantly it would keep the region’s historical records from being shipped a thousand miles away either to Riverside, Ca., or St. Louis, Mo. 

Only Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA,  failed to sign the letter. Newhouse’s office issued a statement faulting the National Archives for failing to make the vast collection available online. His objection overlooked the magnitude of such a task, involving nearly a million boxes of military, land, court, tax, and census records. 

In February, U. S. District Judge John Coughenour issued a temporary injunction to block the pending National Archive sale until lawsuits brought by the Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, plus 29 tribal and various other groups, can be heard.

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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


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