Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Bakken update – Williston considers driving up housing prices. Heat caused 2 derailments in Montana.

Mancamp near Stanley. Photo by James Ulvog.

Mancamp near Stanley. Photo by James Ulvog.

City of Williston may likely vote this week to close all man camps within their jurisdiction. Dramatically reducing supply of housing will have the obvious impact of driving up prices. Keep in mind that is a choice of the local government.

Heat is what caused two derailments in Montana back in July. Not the oil that was on board.

Major construction work on Main street is finished.

11/6 – Amy Dalrymple at Dickinson Press – Oil backers push to keep crew camps as decision looms for Williston 

A group of people from the oil industry calling themselves the Bakken Backers are calling on the Williston city Council not to vote on 11/10 to close all man camps within their jurisdiction. There is still a need for man camps as temporary housing for workers who rotate in and out of the area on short-term basis and for workers on temporary projects. Closing all man camps would push those individuals into the rental market driving up prices. In addition there is a serious problem with someone who will be in town for two or six weeks having to sign a long-term contract. Even month-to-month creates financial distress or someone who may not know how many weeks it will be in town.

Mayor is adamant that all man camps be shut. Target Logistics says the facilities on the north side of town are currently 70% occupied.

11/8 – Forum News Service at Bakken.com, dateline Williston Despite oil bonus slowdown, housing still in high demand – The Salvation Army in Williston is still finding huge demand for assistance. Food baskets need to be scheduled a week out because there is so much more need than supply. Housing is still extremely expensive for people who have just arrived and are trying to get their feet on the ground.

The ongoing irony in North Dakota is that what we call homeless people are routinely employed. The economics are such that entry-level jobs are available but a hotel room costs a day’s wages. So sleeping in your car is still the preferred approach for some people who have a job.

Keep that dynamic in mind as you consider the mayor wants to shut down all man camps and the city council may go along. That would reduce the supply of housing and drive up costs further. If the city Council does what the mayor wants, more guys (it still is overwhelmingly men but not as much as two years ago) will be sleeping in their cars.

That is the logical, foreseeable, expected consequence the council is considering as intentional city government policy.

11/3 – Amy Dalrymple at Oil Patch Dispatch – Heat caused Montana train derailments, BNSF says – Two derailments in Montana during July were caused by heat expanding the rail to the point that the rails buckled. One incident involved 106 crude oil tankers that had been filled up in Trenton. The oil had nothing to do with causing the wreck.

11/8 – AP at Bakken.com – Train derailments build thousands of gallons of ethanol – Upwards of 18,000 gallons of ethanol leaked when a BNSF train derailed. Not crude. Ethanol.

Construction on Main Street. looking north from Penney store. Photo by James Ulvog.

Construction on Main Street. looking north from Penney store. Photo by James Ulvog.

10/29 – KX News at kxnet.com – Williston Celebrates Completion of Main Street Project – Work that has been going on for two years is done. I saw a lot of finished work and a lot in progress a year ago (10/14) when we were there. Saw huge progress during our visit in September 2015.

View south on Main Street. In 10/14 lots of construction was underway there. Photo by James Ulvog.

View south on Main Street. In 10/14 lots of construction was underway there. Photo by James Ulvog.

All of Main street is open. Article says the major effort has cost $10.5M.

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