As bulldozers raze their neighborhood, public-housing tenants reflect on decades of experiences and grapple with losing their tight-knit community to a rapidly gentrifying city.
Even the Walls is a short documentary about the members of a public-housing neighborhood grappling with the forces of gentrification. Traveling throughout the changing landscape of the once tight-knit community, and weaving in and out of personal vignettes, the film explores the diversity of experiences had while living in Yesler Terrace.
Many of the residents featured in Even the Walls have a sense of pride in the community they have helped to build, yet feel powerless against economic driven urban renewal. The recent tidal wave of financial resources flowing into Seattle has influenced the political landscape, and economic progress has seemingly become its singular focus: Seattle is now the 4th fastest gentrifying city in America. Yesler Terrace has not been spared, and has been rezoned to create density through mixed-income and mixed-use development. Even though all 1,200 low-income tenants have been offered a space in the new mid-rise apartments, not one believes their community will remain intact.
Unable to say goodbye to their homes or to each other, the residents continue to take care of the neighborhood children and tend to their gardens, even as bulldozers raze sections of the development. But time is running out, and the 30-acre property is being redeveloped quickly. Now the residents must recollect their memories and their belongings, and decide whether to leave or to return to a place they know deeply but will not recognize. Even the Walls chronicles these stories and spaces, collecting what evidence is left of more than seven decades of carefully cultivated human connectivity.