Oregon Man Hired as New Director of Hardin’s Economic Arm

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – The city of Hardin’s economic development arm has hired a former newspaper reporter with 20 years of experience in marketing and corporate relations as its new director.

Jeff McDowell, a native of Eugene, Ore., started work Friday and says his hiring will be formally announced at a Two Rivers Authority board meeting Dec. 7.

TRA has been criticized in recent months for offering its empty detention center to house Guantanamo Bay detainees and then because of a California con man’s attempt to sign a contract to operate the jail.

The authority’s former director, Greg Smith, was placed on paid leave Sept. 11 and formally resigned Oct. 5. Smith opened talks with Michael Hilton, the con man who formed a shell corporation and tried to lease Hardin’s vacant jail.

The 55-year-old McDowell says that chapter in Hardin’s story is “history.”

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