Appoint Eli Spevak to the Development Review Advisory Committee for term to expire November 8, 2025


As Mayor, I request Council confirmation of the following appointment to the Development Review Advisory Committee.

As the City’s advisory body on development review, the Development Review Advisory Committee (DRAC) seeks to foster an efficient, predictable, and accountable development review process. I am recommending Eli Spevak for appointment to a vacant position on the DRAC for a 3-year term running from November 9, 2022, through November 8, 2025.

AppointmentMembership Category1st Full Term
Eli SpevakPlanning & Sustainability CommissionNovember 9, 2022 - November 8, 2025

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. Eli was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard GSD, co-founded Accessory Dwellings, co-founded Portland for Everyone, and is past chair and current member of the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Statement from Eli Spevak:

I am honored to have been recommended by the Planning and Sustainability Commission to follow Jeff Bacharach as its newest representative on DRAC.  I hope to learn a lot from this experience - and also to share perspectives from my 20+ years as a small developer and general contractor working almost entirely in the City of Portland.

Over the years, I’ve interacted directly with BDS and partner development bureaus in lots of ways.  I’m also quite hands-on, so am usually the actual person writing application narratives, filling out required forms, uploading or redlining check sheet responses, and meeting with staff virtually or in-person. More specifically, I’ve:

  • Researched site development options and constraints on-line, through over-the-counter meetings, and (more recently) with 15-minute consults;
  • Applied for all manner of permits;
  • Navigated land use adjustments, building code appeals, public works alternative reviews appeals, and a zone change;
  • Called in, walked job sites with inspectors, and then passed (and sometimes failed) hundreds of inspections; and
  • Sometimes got pretty creative with building & zoning codes, guided by my mission to create affordable, community-oriented housing options.

I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with processes.  And I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way.  But in all these years, I’ve never had an inside view into how this bureau ticks.  Serving on DRAC will help me understand that - and likely build greater appreciation of what goes on behind-the-scenes, largely invisible to the eyes of applicants.

During my 6+ years of service on the PSC, we’ve recommended significant changes to Portland’s zoning code.  Although I think we’ve made good headway at tilting regulations towards more equitable and environmentally-friendly development, more often than not this has added complexity to regulations - and I’m sure we’ve made some mistakes along the way.  I’m hopeful that, with a new round of RICAP, less packed schedule, and renewed focus on land use, the PSC will have a chance at some simplification going forward.  By serving on DRAC, I hope to help with that feedback loop.  Although we regularly receive invaluable input from BDS and other implementation bureaus on zoning code projects, I don’t think there’s a substitute for having a PSC member learning directly from implementing staff on the implications of regulations we recommend.

Lastly, I’ll share that I also serve on Oregon’s ReBuliding Task force, which has been tasked with recommending legislation to implement the governor’s climate protection plan in the built environment.  Updated regulations for new and, potentially, existing buildings may impact BDS’s work.  I’m happy to informally liaison with that process, if helpful.

I always enjoy a steep learning curve, and am sure I’ll find one through service on DRAC.

Eli will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the DRAC.  Eli’s appointment will help ensure that the good work of the DRAC continues on behalf of BDS and other City bureaus, the development community, and all Portlanders.

With this appointment, all DRAC positions will be filled.

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

As the City’s advisory body on development review, the DRAC seeks to foster an efficient, predictable, and accountable development review process. The DRAC is composed of 17 members representing different stakeholder groups, such as builders, developers, designers, and neighborhoods.

The purpose of this legislation is to fill a vacant position on the DRAC so the Committee can more effectively fulfill its advisory role.

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

The DRAC appointments are citizen-volunteer positions, so no revenue or expenses are incurred by this legislation.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

This legislation will benefit the development review process and the Portland community by supporting the continued effective functioning of the DRAC. Each of the 17 members of the DRAC represents a unique stakeholder group to the development review process; making the appointments specified in this legislation will help ensure balanced representation on the DRAC.

Since this DRAC position is designated for a member of the Planning & Sustainability Commission (PSC), BDS did not conduct its usual public recruitment process for the position through NeoGov.  Instead, the PSC voted for one of their members for appointment to the position on the DRAC.

With this appointment, all DRAC positions will be filled.

100% Renewable Goal

This legislation appoints citizen volunteers to serve on the DRAC and will therefore have no impact on the City’s energy use. This legislation neither contributes to nor detracts from the City’s goal of meeting 100% of community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by 2050.

Budget Office Financial Impact Analysis

No fiscal impact.

Document History

Item 937 Time Certain in November 9, 2022 Council Agenda

City Council


Motion to accept the report: Moved by Ryan and seconded by Rubio.
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Absent
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Absent

Requested Agenda Type

Time Certain

Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Requested Start Time
9:45 am
Time Requested
15 minutes
Confirmed Time Certain