A tour through the thoroughfares in Southeast Seattle showcases light rail and economic development, enduring legacies of former Seattle City Councilmember Richard McIver.
The former councilman died Saturday at age 71, leaving a political legacy built on affability and fierce advocacy.
Years ago, McIver worked in economic development, helping to bring President Johnson’s “Model Cities” urban-revitalization program to Seattle.
McIver was appointed to the City Council in 1997 and elected to a four-year term the same year. For the next 12 years he kept a sharp eye on taxpayers’ money, asked tough questions of city workers and advocated loudly for light rail and South Seattle development.
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McIver’s single best accomplishment is the $50 million Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, which has loaned more than $10 million to South End small businesses since 2006.
Poor health and marital problems, marked by a 2007 arrest on domestic violence charges — later dropped — led McIver not to seek re-election after his third term ended in 2009.
He went to work for the Rainier Valley development fund and remained a sage resource about Seattle’s economic development and neighborhoods.
Seattle has lost a quiet leader and fierce advocate. It has lost a piece of its institutional memory.