Eli Spevak (full bio here) 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 7 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.
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, state 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 Build Small Coalition convened by the regional government, Metro, and chaired Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission for two years (where he still serves).
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 has been 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.