Eli Spevak has been crafting affordable, community-oriented housing developments in Portland since he arrived in 1994 as a volunteer construction supervisor with Portland Habitat for Humanity. During his first decade in Portland, he managed the finance and construction of over 250 units of affordable housing through community-based non-profit organizations. After taking a year off to work as a backcountry ranger, Eli launched a development and general contractor company, Orange Splot, LLC, with a mission to pioneer new models of community-oriented, affordable, green housing developments in Portland—ideally within an easy bike ride of his house. So far, Orange Splot has completed several small communities of homes and consulted on the development of projects large and small. Orange Splot projects have been featured in the New York Times, Sunset Magazine, NBC’s Today Show, and Portland’s annual Build It Green! tours. For links to articles and more information about recent projects, please visit www.orangesplot.net.
Eli is also active in the local small home movement. In 2009, he convened an informal ‘tiny house society’ that in 2010 was instrumental in changing Portland’s regulations and fee structure for accessory dwelling units. He led bike tours of tiny homes and ADUs as part of Pedalpalooza. He co-founded the www.accessorydwellings.org website, led the creation of a model ADU code, and does local and national advocacy for regulatory changes that support discreet, affordable, and environmentally friendly housing options.
As a volunteer, Eli worked with Dignity Village residents during their first two tumultuous years of existence, served on the board of the Portland Community Land Trust (now Proud Ground) for its first five years, is an active member of the Space-Efficient Housing Working group convened by Oregon DEQ, and regularly serves on planning and development-related advisory panels and focus groups for the City of Portland.
Eli was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the 2013-2014 school year. He regularly guest-teaches classes through Portland State University’s Urban Studies and Planning program, and is an adjunct instructor with PSU’s architecture program. He completed a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a Physics degree from Swarthmore College.
After moving to Portland in 1994 as a construction supervisor with Habitat for Humanity, Eli Spevak managed the finance and construction of over 250 units of affordable housing through work in the non-profit sector. He served on the board of Portland’s community land trust for its first 5 years and worked with residents of Dignity Village, a self-built homeless camp, during its first two. After taking a year off to work as a backcountry ranger, Eli launched a development and general contractor company, Orange Splot LLC, to pioneer new models of community-oriented housing, ideally within an easy bike ride of his house. Completed projects have been featured in the New York Times and Sunset Magazine – and his most recent community, Cully Grove, just received a 2016 AIA Housing Award. He’s led tiny house bike tours, advocated for regulatory changes to support accessory dwellings, and co-founded the www.accessorydwellings.org website. Eli was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the 2013-2014 school year. Since then, he’s participated in Portland’s Residential Infill Project to reform zoning in single dwelling areas, co-founded an advocacy organization (Portland for Everyone) to support diverse, abundant and affordable housing, and now serves on Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission. He continues to launch new communities and hopes they go well enough to fund his policy habit.
Eli Spevak has been developing affordable housing communities in Oregon for over 20 years, starting as a volunteer construction supervisor with Habitat for Humanity. In 2006, he launched Orange Splot, LLC to build new models of community-oriented, affordable, green housing development – ideally within an easy bike ride of his house. Eli was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard GSD, co-founded www.accessorydwellings.org, co-founded Portland for Everyone, and now serves on Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission.
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