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Remembering Riverlife co-founder Paul O’Neill, 1935-2020

By April 18, 2020Blog

We’re incredibly sad to hear that Paul O’Neill, one of Riverlife’s founders, has died.

Former chairman and CEO of Alcoa Corp. and Treasury Secretary under George H.W. Bush, Paul O’Neill was one of the original members of Riverlife (then known as Riverlife Task Force), formed in 1999 to lead a planning process to transform Pittsburgh’s downtown riverfronts.

The resulting Vision Plan for Pittsburgh’s Riverfronts (2000) laid out a road map for creating new parks, trail connections, real estate investment, and environmental restoration along the riverbanks of Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle.

Paul was passionate about advancing Pittsburgh and elevating riverfront design, including the signature Alcoa headquarters on the North Shore which he had co-designed as environmentally friendly before green building standards became the norm. He was proud of the progress that had been made in connecting people back to the riverfronts. “I have to say, what’s taken place here and what’s happening going forward with this beautiful city becoming environmentally responsible is a joy to be part of,” he said in a 2013 Riverlife video. “I don’t know another city in the country that has done as much in this period of time [in improving the riverfronts] as Pittsburgh.”

We’ll be sharing our favorite words and memories of Paul soon. Our thoughts are with his family during this time of mourning his loss and celebrating his life.

Image by Heather Mull for Riverlife.