Planning expert joins Mountain Line board

Missoula Current

The Missoula Urban Transportation District’s Board of Directors gained a new member this month, just as Mountain Line’s zero-fare service continues to set new ridership records.

The agency last week announced that Jesse Dodson has been named to the board. Dodson is an attorney who specializes in land use, real estate, planning and development, and brings new expertise to Mountain Line’s governing body.

Jesse Dodson
Jesse Dodson

“I’ve personally relied on public transportation throughout my life,” Dodson said. “In my view, we need to not only preserve the transit systems we have, we need to enhance and improve them whenever possible.”

Dodson has an extensive background in planning and public service, according to the agency. After studying finance at the University of Colorado, he earned his law degree from the Northwestern School of Law in 2003.

Dodson’s legal practice focused on issues related to development, including transportation and land use planning. A portion of his work was performed pro bono on behalf of nonprofit clients related to government affairs, land use planning and affordable housing.

Dodson relocated to Missoula from Chicago last year. This spring, he served as an adjunct professor of law teaching a course on land use and the environment at the University of Montana.

“Public service is something I believe in very strongly,” Dodson said. “It’s important to give back to the community you share with others. I’m also looking forward to working with such a great team of committed and qualified people, both on the board and the Mountain Line staff.”

Mountain Line is governed by a seven member all-volunteer Board of Directors. Directors are appointed alternatively by the city of Missoula and Missoula County. All appointments are for four years.

Andrea Davis, the board’s chair, said the board sets transportation policy for the agency and helps guide transit planning into the future. Dodson was appointed this spring by Mayor John Engen to replace outgoing director Scott Hollenbeck.

“His background and experience will be a great asset to public transportation in Missoula, and we’re all looking forward to having him as part of our team,” said Davis