Boston Harbor Powerplayer Vivien Li Departs for Pittsburgh Riverfront

From Boston Harbor to the Three Rivers.

Vivien Li

Vivien Li by George Vasquez

A longtime advocate for Boston Harbor is moving to a new job in Pittsburgh. 

Boston Harbor Association President Vivien Li, a mover and shaker in Boston’s silos of power, is stepping down from the organization she has worked at for  24 years to become the president and CEO of Riverlife, a Pittsburgh based organization with a similar mission.

Li will move into her new position on October 1, 2015.

“I am so proud to have worked at The Boston Harbor Association with its extraordinary track record, and to have worked together with many, many residents, community and business leaders, and elected officials in being a part of the renaissance of Boston’s waterfront, and will miss my friends and colleagues here,” said Li in a statement.

Li is seen by many as having helped orchestrate the restoration of the Boston Harbor waterfront area by strongly advocating for things like the 41-mile HarborWalk trail and regulatory changes that led to surprisingly clean beaches.

“I have seen how her effective advocacy has transformed the waterfront, from making Boston Harbor swimmable to the reclamation of once vacant properties into vibrant waterfront sites with housing, jobs, HarborWalk segments, and open spaces,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement.

While she has championed the clean up of the Boston Harbor waterfront she has been a critic of the dull glass shipping crates also known as buildings rising from the booming Seaport District. During a 2014 interview with WGBH she said that she was disappointed by what the Seaport is becoming.

“You know, you see these beautiful drawings done by an architect and then you see it in reality and — this is what we really signed off on?” Li said.

The former Dukakis staffer once worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and as an urban conference manager for the National Urban League.  In 2006 she was on the Boston Magazine list of 40 Bostonians We Love.