Working out a balance between policy and development, Eli Spevak has been actively involved in these fields in Portland, Oregon, where he arrived in 1994 as a volunteer construction supervisor with Habitat for Humanity. In the city, he has managed the finance and construction of over 250 units of affordable, community oriented, and green housing through community based nonprofit organizations, including his own development and general contractor company, Orange Splot, LLC. The company has completed several small communities and has been consulted on the development of projects over a range of scales. Spevak’s work with the company has been featured in the New York Times and Sunset Magazine, on NBC’s Today Show, and as part of Portland’s annual Build It Green! tours.

Spevak has advocated for code changes that support the development of smaller and more affordable homes in residential neighborhoods. In 2009 he convened an informal “tiny house society,” which the following year was instrumental in changing Portland’s regulations and fee structure for accessory dwelling units. His cofounding of the website led to the creation of a model ADU code, with an emphasis on both local and national advocacy for regulatory changes that support discreet, affordable, and environmentally friendly housing options.

Spevak has previously volunteered with Dignity Village, 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 Workgroup convened by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and regularly serves on planning and development-related advisory panels and focus groups for the City of Portland. He also guest teaches classes in Portland State University’s Architecture and Urban Studies and Planning programs. Spevak has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a physics degree from Swarthmore College.

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