This short documentary weaves together an oral history interview with Gloria Lavender with action footage of her recent experiences, drawing comparisons between past and present.
Gloria Lavender has witnessed the floodwaters of change throughout her life in Portland, Oregon. As a child, she and her family were evacuated from the Vanport flood, which displaced 12,000 people. She grew up in North Portland's African American community, now in upheaval amid rapidly rising costs of housing.
One challenge on this project was finding a fresh way to visualize an event that happened 65 years ago. A few different documentaries on the flood already make use of the limited historic images available. I went in a different direction, filming footage of Gloria's journey to finding affordable housing now to draw parallels to her experience as a child so many years ago.
The other challenge was trimming the amazing wealth of experiences Gloria describes in her interview to the required 5-minute length. Through transcription of the interview and a few rounds of thoughtful edits on paper, we were able to pull a thread through some of Gloria's memories in a way that brought together themes of family, African American history and displacement.