John Engen, Missoula’s 50th and longest-serving mayor, is accountable for the day-to-day operations of the city while providing leadership and vision for a community where quality of life is a core value for citizens.
Engen’s accomplishments range from comprehensive planning efforts to ensure that Missoula is a compact, sustainable city to restoring the city’s once-private water system to public ownership. He’s been a champion of conservation efforts, a partner in battling hunger and homelessness and a proponent of thoughtful business development.
Engen’s has seen the City of Missoula through the Great Recession, reform of the City’s response to sexual assault and led a collaborative community effort to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to challenge Missoula.
On the mayor’s watch, the new Russell Street Bridge was completed, the Madison Street Bridge rebuilt and the dead block that was the empty Mercantile redeveloped into a vibrant downtown destination.
The city’s portfolio of accessible open spaces and trails has grown dramatically and a new, inclusive public library opened to serve all Missoulians. As a founder of the Missoula Economic Partnership, Engen joined community leaders in providing support for local businesses to grow and thrive while attracting best-fit businesses to Missoula. Despite the pandemic, more people are employed in Missoula than ever before.
Engen is a leader among the nation’s mayors, serving on the National League of Cities’ “Reimagining Public Safety” task force, Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council and NLC equity collaboration.
Today, the mayor’s team is concentrating efforts on housing affordability in a thriving community, collaborating with Missoula County to serve unhoused Missoulians while maintaining our public spaces, investing in new programs to support residents in crisis, creating partnerships to achieve goals to fight climate change and building budgets that balance the many demands of residents while holding the line on property-tax increases.
Engen has served on a variety of advisory boards including Missoula Economic Partnership, the Missoula Food Bank, The Humane Society of Western Montana, The Clark Fork River Market, Essential Eats, the Montana League of Cities and Towns, Spark, the International Rescue Committee and more.
Born in Missoula in 1964, Engen is a product of Willard Grade School, Hellgate High School and the University of Montana. He enjoyed a career in print journalism, was a partner in two small businesses and served a term as a Missoula City Council member before being elected mayor for the first time in 2005.
As a volunteer auctioneer and master of ceremonies, he’s helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations in Western Montana.
A friend of the Humane Society of Western Montana, he’s been rescued again and again by adopted dogs and cats. He enjoys cooking for friends, making people laugh and getting great work done with really smart people.