John Engen, Missoula's 50th and longest-serving mayor was known for his wit,
his vision for the future of a progressive Missoula and his dedication to its
Born in Missoula in 1964, Engen was 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. He served from January 2006 until his death.
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 was a champion of conservation efforts, a
partner in battling hunger and homelessness and a proponent of thoughtful
He championed two open space bonds during his tenure, believing that the
preservation of lands around the city for recreation, well-being and good
stewardship was key. Engen believed that recreational and cultural infrastructure
were crucial to economic development. Missoula today is one of the nation's
most desirable places to live.
The Mayor was also a champion of nonprofits, believing that collaborative
partnerships between local government and the effort and commitment of
residents led to a better city for all. Engen's leadership set the tone for Missoula's
welcoming of refugees from around the world.
Engen served on a variety of local and national advisory boards. As a volunteer
auctioneer, he helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations in
Western Montana. A friend of the Humane Society of Western Montana, he was
rescued again and again by adopted dogs and cats.
He enjoyed cooking for friends, making people laugh and doing great work with