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John Engen, Missoula’s 50th mayor, was elected in 2005 in a race that began with six candidates. He ran unopposed and was re-elected on Nov. 3, 2009.
As the national recession crept into Western Montana in 2009, Engen began work with a team of community leaders in the private and public sectors to rally support around a strategic approach to creating jobs and wealth in Missoula through a professional economic development organization. That effort, the Best Place Project, produced the Missoula Economic Partnership, an economic development organization, funded with private and public dollars, with clear goals for bolstering Missoula’s economy.
Since taking office in 2006, Engen made good on his promise to pass an open-space bond for Missoula and worked with Missoula County to help ensure that important lands in and out of the city were protected for our generation and those who inherit this special place.
Engen’s Affordable Housing Team has worked for two years identifying housing needs in the city, educating our neighbors about the importance of workforce housing to our economy and community and creating momentum for decision-makers to consider housing affordability as they make policy choices. In 2008, a clear majority of the Missoula City Council passed an affordable housing resolution, formalizing the City’s commitment to decent housing for all Missoulians.
Under Mayor Engen’s direction, the City embarked on the difficult but necessary mission of updating and reforming the city’s antiquated zoning regulations. Based on his belief that considerable community tension is the product of outdated and outmoded regulations, Engen, again with the support of a majority of City Council, launched a grassroots process to write regulations that work for Missoula and its wide variety of citizens. In 2009, the Council approved the new regulations.
He and his team are currently working on creating a streamlined development office to better serve the community.
Attorney General Steve Bullock appointed Mayor Engen served a three-year term on the state Gaming Advisory Council from 2010 to 2013. Engen was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Montana League of Cities and Towns in February 2010. He will represent Missoula and other cities and towns in the West-Central region of the state. In 2011, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer appointed Engen to the local executive board of The University of Montana.
With his leadership team and capable City staff, Engen has delivered balanced budgets to Council, continued to deliver important services to the folks who count on the city for clean, safe streets, fire and medical aid, permits and parks and much more.
Before serving as mayor, Engen served a term as a City Council member, was an award-winning writer and editor for the city’s daily newspaper, owned and operated his own small business and volunteered for a variety of Missoula’s nonprofit organizations, concentrating on human services. As an unpaid auctioneer and emcee, Engen has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help our friends and neighbors in the community.
Engen was born in Missoula in 1964, attended Willard Elementary School, Hellgate High School and The University of Montana, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
His wife, Tracy, continues to own and operate a travel agency in Missoula. The Engens live in the Rattlesnake Valley with a rescued Labradoodle, Odie; a rescued cat named Moose; a rescued Poodle cross, Cooper; a rescued Greyhound, Artie; and a bunch of fish.
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