Issues

For 16 years, John Engen has served as Missoula’s mayor, providing leadership to address our community’s needs and challenges. He understands the issues that are important to Missoulians and has strong relationships with the community leaders who can inform and participate in the solution to our greatest challenges. Having led Missoula through both the Great Recession and the Covid-19 Pandemic, John brings the experience to lead Missoula through the next four years.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

A

Missoulians have compassion for people in our community who are unhoused. We also cannot allow our city parks and other public spaces to be used for urban camping, creating unsanitary and unsafe conditions. That’s why Mayor Engen is working with Missoula County and private-sector partners to establish safe temporary shelter to ensure that unhoused friends and neighbors in Missoula County have safe alternatives to living on the street or camping illegally on public lands.

The solution to homelessness is housing, and the rising cost of housing in Missoula is adding to the challenges we face with homelessness and affordable housing. Affordability and availability of housing are challenges many communities across Montana, and across the country, are facing, but because of the actions Mayor Engen has taken, Missoula is in a better position than other communities in Montana to address these challenges. Missoula is invested in the largest affordable-housing initiative in the state, the City is retooling our regulations and permitting processes to ensure that quality housing of all types can be built efficiently in Missoula, and through Montana’s only active municipal housing trust fund, Missoula is supporting affordable housing efforts throughout the community. 

Parks, Trails and Open Space

A

Missoula is a special place to live. We enjoy an incredible quality of life thanks to the public lands that surround our community and the investments we’ve made in parks, trails and open lands. Mayor Engen has always been a champion for protecting the things we all love about Missoula and he has a vision to ensure that as Missoula grows we won’t lose the things that make our community so special. 

Jobs and Our Local Economy

A

As mayor, John Engen founded the Missoula Economic Partnership with the goal of supporting quality jobs, assisting local businesses, attracting new employers and increasing prosperity, all while maintaining our quality of life and collective soul. Missoula’s economy is now more diverse than ever in its history. Today, more people are working in Missoula than ever before and the median wage has increased year over year. Missoula led the state in job creation prior to the pandemic and is poised to continue this growth as we emerge and head to recovery.

City Budget and Taxes

A

The City of Missoula’s budget, under Mayor Engen’s leadership, has been built to efficiently and effectively meet the demands of the day while ensuring that the basic services every resident relies upon are fully supported. For the second year, Mayor Engen will propose a budget that meets our community’s needs without a tax increase. Mayor Engen has advocated for property tax reform at the Montana Legislature, calling for a local-option tourist tax and supporting efforts to create a property tax circuit-breaker based on income.

Growth, Development and Transportation

A

No community controls growth, but great communities guide growth so cities maintain a sense of place, character and value. Mayor Engen is working to guide development in Missoula in a way that honors the land and the environment and supports safe, sound communities. From a master plan that uses state-of-the-practice codes to support high-quality development in the Mullan Road area to working with the private sector to revitalize areas where current uses don’t reflect current needs, Mayor Engen understands how to work with city government, community members and developers to ensure that as our community grows, Missoula remains Missoula.

Missoula has an award winning transit system thanks to the support and efforts of Missoula Mayor John Engen.  Mountain Line is recognized by transportation advocates around the country as a model for its Fare Free program, expansion of electric buses and commitment to be a zero-emissions bus system by 2035. Mountain Line benefits Us All from helping with traffic, addressing equity, improving  air quality, service for  senior and disabled transit, and providing a safe, reliable, and convenient way for Missoulians and visitors to travel.

Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity

A

Mayor Engen is committed to making sure all of Missoula’s residents and visitors are welcome in our community and have equal opportunity to enjoy life and prosper. Engen is a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ-plus community and was instrumental in the ratification of the state’s first non-discrimination ordinance, he stood up for refugee resettlement early on, and he sought representation from tribal governments to collaborate on using American Rescue Plan resources to support native communities. He has also personally and professionally supported efforts to create opportunities for women in leadership. When our neighbors face discrimination, threats and violence, Mayor Engen is there to support and advocate for them.

Climate and Energy

A

Under Mayor Engen’s leadership, Missoula has made tremendous investment in climate action and sustainability, ranging from our climate-action plan, commitment to the Paris Accords, zero-waste initiative, poplar plantation and renewable energy commitment. Engen was among the first to sign onto a climate agreement of the United States Conference of Mayors in 2006 and was willing to talk about global warming and climate change when the subject was largely taboo among elected officials.

Public Health and Safety

A

The most essential role of our local government is to provide services and resources to protect public health and safety. We need a well-trained and community-minded police force in order to keep Missoula safe while preserving the liberties of people in our community. Under Mayor Engen’s leadership, our police force is emphasizing training for officers, and focusing efforts on saving lives. Mayor Engen, realizing the need for new tools to help people in mental health crises, also established Montana’s first mobile crisis response team. Led by the Missoula Fire Department, this team combines first responder experience with mental health experts to get people the right treatment at the right time.