When the Yesler Terrace apartment complex was completed in 1941, it became the state's first racially integrated low-income housing project. With its sweeping downtown views, individual yards, and diverse mix of residents, the 32-acre complex is not your typical project. And to many of its 1,200 residents--some multiple-generation tenants--Yesler Terrace is the only home they've ever known.
All that will change soon, however, and some of the folks who live at YT don't like what's on the horizon.
The city's $300 million plan to tear down most of Yesler Terrace and replace it with high-rise condos and shops has freaked out some of the complex's low-income residents, who worry there'll be no room for them in the ritzy new digs.
An artist's rendering of the new Yesler Terrace.
Neighbors tell KING-5 News that they also worry about where they'll go between the time they're given the boot for construction and the time they're allowed to move back in--if they get to move back in.
Plus, residents are upset that they'll be losing the complex's signature individual yards, which many use for gardening.
Already a growing number of residents have been signing a petition to save the project, although since the Seattle Housing Authority approved it last month, the effort seems only symbolic.
It should be noted that SHA has promised that all the low-rent units will be replaced, and that even more of Seattle's poorest will ultimately get to live at YT.
Still, at the end of the day, housing projects are being torn down and replaced with mixed-use condos and shops--one more stop on the Central District's long trod toward gentrification.