The City Club of Missoula hosted its annual State of Missoula gathering at the Doubletree Hotel on Monday, February 8, and heard from Mayor John Engen, Missoula County Commissioner Nicole Rollie and University of Montana President Royce Engstrom.

Engen opened with general remarks about his background being raised in Missoula at the time when there were tepee burners and Reserve Street was a far piece out of town.

Engen tapped a subject near to his heart, affordable housing.

"I believe that it is a fundamental human right and that the city of Missoula ought to adopt a formal resolution that it is a fundamental right to have safe, decent housing," Engen said. "The best of us out to be reflected in the least of us. That is the community in which I grew up, and those are the values I believe should be reflected in opinion and in election here in Missoula."

Regarding the Mountain Water condemnation effort, Engen reflected on a newspaper article in the Missoulian from decades ago that still resonated with him today.

"A city council meeting in 1924 when over 300 people packed into city hall to talk about the fact that they ought to buy the water company for $300,000," he said. "They didn't. It's a hundred year decision, and what I recommend is the the city the county and the University of Montana ought to be looking at hundred year decisions, so we don't have to look back and see that we failed to take advantage of our opportunities."

He then spoke about a bane of the city every spring....potholes.

"Fair warning, by the way, super big pothole season coming," he said to laughter from the Missoula City Club group. "552-6000, ladies and gentlemen," referencing the number to call for the city's 'pothole patrol.'

Engstrom praised the relationship between the city and the university, and the many accomplishments the institution had celebrated over the past year, while acknowledging the enrollment difficulties.

"We say to everyone on campus, you're all recruiters," Engstrom said.

Rollie pointed to the many projects underway at the county level, from parks and rails to jail overcrowding, and the steps being taken to handle the problems.




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