Principal, Spencer Consultants
John Spencer’s education and career have taken him from a small town in Wyoming, to Virginia and Washington, D.C., to London then to Portland, Oregon where he has had an urban planning career spanning over 40 years. John has been instrumental in planning for and developing Portland’s new central area urban neighborhoods including the Pearl District, NW Slabtown District and South Waterfront. He is currently working to plan and implement a new district focused on the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry along the Willamette River in SE Portland. These areas are frequently lauded as successful American examples of high density, mixed use pedestrian districts that integrate transit, open spaces and high quality public realm design. John has had a leadership role both in managing the planning efforts that conceived these neighborhoods, and formulating the financing strategies and public/private partnerships that have made them happen.
John's professional and community contributions to the City of Portland and State of Oregon have also been significant. He served for eleven years on the Portland Design Commission, six as chair, guided approval of a number of major public and private development projects in the Central City, and helped develop and apply design guidelines and standards that have been used as models by many cities. John also served as a long-term board member of the Oregon Downtown Development Association and Livable Oregon. His leadership and personal contributions helped advance downtown revitalization and smart growth practices throughout the state.
1985-present- Spencer Consultants, formerly Spencer & Kupper, Portland, Oregon.
Spencer Consultants is a Portland planning and development services firm that focuses on public/private development planning, urban design, project management, and urban renewal. The firm is a principal-only practice and has no employees.
John is the planning and urban design principal of the firm. He is responsible for the firm’s neighborhood and specific area planning, development code and design standards preparation, revitalization strategy and project definition. John's focus is on central area planning, redevelopment, town planning, sustainability and project management.
Significant projects where John acted as project manager and principal planner include:
1977-1985- Wilsey & Ham, Portland, Oregon.
John served as Chief Urban Planner and project manager in the firm’s Portland, Oregon office, then as Director of Planning responsible for planning programs in the firm’s San Francisco, Denver, Seattle and Portland offices. Significant projects where John acted as project manager and principal planner include:
1974-1976- Greater London Council, London, England.
John served as Architect/Planner Central Area Team: a team of urban designers and transportation engineers focused on projects within Areas of Metropolitan Importance in the London Boroughs of Westminster and Camden. Projects include:
1973-1974 KRS Associates, Reston, Virginia. Associate, Master’s Major Project
Under direction of a firm principal, John undertook a variety of planning tasks first as a summer intern, then as a full time employee. John authored the “Bayshore, New York Downtown Plan, 1974” which was also approved as a Master’s Major Project at VPI & SU.
1974- Master of Architecture in Urban Design, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
1972- Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (Architectural), University of Wyoming
John Spencer is a Charter Member of both the APA and AICP. He has been active in local chapter activities, including serving as co-project manager for the Oregon Visions Project Committee. That committee produced “A Guide to Community Visioning, which won a 1995 APA National Planning Award.
In addition to his professional planning accomplishments and activities associated with APA and AICP, John has held leadership roles in organizations furthering planning and smart development values, and has received honors and recognition for his contributions both from his clients and from organizations he has served. He has also participated as a speaker and panelist at conferences and workshops and authored papers on planning and implementation topics.
Honors, Awards and Recognitions
Public Service & Publications
Membership in Allied Organizations
Past Affiliate, American Institute of Architects
Past Affiliate, Urban Land Institute
Past Member, Association of Oregon Redevelopment Agencies