Starting Over Writing About Dickinson, North Dakota

Dickinson, North Dakota has changed so much over the past 12 months, that I need to start over, and begin again in describing Dickinson, North Dakota.

The economy, business, business practices, real estate, construction, construction companies, oil field, oil field companies, employment, jobs, crime, people’s attitudes, and people’s behavior have changed so much, that I have to completely start over in describing what Dickinson, North Dakota is like now.

For my own personal reference and orientation, in thinking about Dickinson, and describing Dickinson, I will have to be clear, that there is a big difference between what Dickinson was like 2007 through 2016, and what Dickinson had changed into by the end of 2017.

The price of oil fell drastically in 2015, causing the oil boom in North Dakota to begin slowing down.  There were changes that occurred in western North Dakota as the number of operating oil drill rigs declined.  The oil field work slowed down, which in turn caused there to be a slow down in the rest of the economy in western North Dakota.  Many workers from out of state returned home to the states where they came from.

When the oil boom slowed down in 2015, Dickinson became calmer and quieter.  There became less people in Dickinson, and less traffic.  Some oil field businesses closed, other businesses closed, and some residents moved out of state.

However, the character, mood, attitudes, and mentality in Dickinson remained the same as what it had been during the last years of the oil boom, up until 2017.

I believe that 2017 is a clear cut-off point, to where everything changed in Dickinson.  I believe that all through the beginning of 2017, virtually everyone in Dickinson realized that the oil boom was over, whether they said it out loud or not.  Throughout Dickinson, everyone considered how the oil boom being over, would affect them.  By the end of 2017, everyone’s outlook, attitude, mentality, and behavior changed.

To me, who had been living in Dickinson since 2011, there came a point in late 2017, that it seemed like everyone in Dickinson had changed over night. It was like the people in Dickinson had changed in unison.

In writing this blog post, and in discussing it, I see that the origin of this change was the sharp decline in the price of oil, the slow down in the oil field, the decline in business and the number of out of state workers, the continuation of the slow down, and the gradual realization by the people in Dickinson that the oil boom was over, and that it was not coming back.  However, the outlook, attitude, mentality, and behavior of people in Dickinson seemed to change all of a sudden, in late 2017.

The people in Dickinson became less friendly.  That is right, the people in Dickinson became even less friendly.  For the past three years, I have described the people in Dickinson as being unfriendly, but now, they have become distinctly even more unfriendly.

There is becoming a greater distinction and division between the people who are from Dickinson, and the people who are not from Dickinson.  During the oil boom that occurred in Dickinson from 2007 through 2014, the people from Dickinson did not like the out of state workers.  Now that the oil boom is over, the people from Dickinson dislike people from out of state even more.

Working in Dickinson from 2011 through 2014, my co-workers from Dickinson were sometimes hostile, unfriendly, uncooperative, not helpful, resentful, and undermining.  Beginning in 2015, I could see that the people from Dickinson, were becoming even more hostile, unfriendly, uncooperative, resentful, and undermining with their co-workers, both with local and out of state workers, but much more so with out of state workers.

What is happening is this:  The local people from Dickinson are making less money, working less hours, and working less overtime.  The local people from Dickinson have lost their jobs, and have had difficulty in getting jobs.  The local people in Dickinson, they want to be able to afford to pay for the things that they have, not lose their car or their house, and be able to live.  The local people in Dickinson, believe that they should have more of a right to work and earn a living, than workers from out of state.

Many or most of the local people in Dickinson, did not like people from out of state coming to Dickinson to work during the oil boom.  The local people were hostile and unfriendly to the people who were from out of state, during the oil boom.  Now, with local people making less money, having lost their job, and not being able to get a job, their dislike for people who are from out of state, is much greater.

With work having slowed down in Dickinson, many out of state workers having moved away, traffic being lower, businesses being slower, things being quieter and calmer, there are a few other ways that Dickinson had changed distinctly by 2017.

Apartment rent and house rent have decreased greatly.  The new apartments that were built during the oil boom, are now much more affordable.  The older apartments and older homes, the rent on these are now very low.

The house prices in Dickinson have come down some, but not as much as they should have, considering that the oil boom is over.  There are several reasons why the house prices remain high, higher than they should be:  Real estate agents and property owners are deliberately trying to keep house prices high through their own efforts;  some home owners do not understand and will not face reality;  some home owners mistakenly think that the oil boom will return any minute now;  some people are just so hung up with what they paid for their home during the oil boom, that they will not price it for what the market is now;  some people paid so much for their home during the oil boom that they owe much more than their home is worth now.

I will mention one more way that Dickinson had changed significantly by 2017.  There was an increase in property theft in Dickinson in 2016 and 2017.  In reading the Dickinson Press newspaper “Crime And Courts” and the “Police Blotter” over the past several years, I noticed that there were more and more thefts from businesses, homes, garages, and automobiles.  In 2016, the amount property theft appeared to be distinctly greater than in previous years.  Now in 2017, property theft seems to be a permanent, daily, ongoing thing in Dickinson.  Dickinson is now a high theft area.

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