Laurelhurst Community Club supports the retention of the National Archives Building on Sand Point Way NE, which contains the history of over 272 federally recognized tribes, including the original treaties, and contains over 1 million boxes of various regional documents. These archives house the legal records; documents; maps; photographs of Seattle’s first settlers; birth, adoption, and death records; census records; and many more historical records from across the Northwest. The Archives site is planned to be sold, after it was designated “surplus” land by the federal government, and its contents would be distributed to various national archives throughout the country, leaving no locally accessible records. Much of the contents are too fragile to be digitized, and would be lost to the public, if not destroyed.
A broad coalition of the Archives’ users, led by State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Federal and State Senators and Representatives and City Council members Juarez and Pedersen, are requesting that the expedited sale of the property be delayed until the required public comment process takes place.
Because the prior administration did not hold a public meeting, AG Ferguson hosted a virtual meeting on January 19 and over 300 people attended and gave testimony. LCC participated in this public process, and commented how in its over 100 years as a nonprofit, it has used the archives to decipher its history with the Coastal Salish as some of the early inhabitants in Union Bay, to identify potential artifacts found from the tribes, and in identifying sites which may have been sacred burial grounds such as in Foster Island when the SR520 Bridge Replacement was planned, in addition to other important issues. Trustee Jim Rupp also sent in comments on behalf of the Pacific NW Historians Guild (of which he is a member) to support retaining the Federal Archives at Sand Point Way NE.
AG Ferguson filed several lawsuits about the irregular public process of the sale and related issues. The fate of the National Archives Building is yet to be determined.