Tag Archives: economy in Dickinson North Dakota

Boycott Local Businesses In Dickinson North Dakota

If you feel like you are being mistreated, or have been mistreated in Dickinson, North Dakota, STOP USING LOCAL BUSINESSES.

If you feel like you have been denied good employment, been prevented from advancing, been forced to work under a local Dickinson person with less intelligence, ability, and experience, STOP USING LOCAL BUSINESSES.

If you have gone to a business in Dickinson, such as a bank, restaurant, bar, car dealer, dealership service department, property management company, or any other business, and have been disrespected, given poor service, or not treated fairly, STOP USING LOCAL BUSINESSES.

You may be stuck in the job that you are in for the time being.  You may have to continue working under someone who is incompetent a little while longer.  You may not be able to get out of Dickinson right now.  But you can stop supporting the people who are responsible for you being mistreated, being disrespected, being taken advantage of, treated unfairly, by not supporting these business owners and local families who are responsible for this.

Whether you are from Dickinson or not, there are local business owners and local families that could not care less that you are mistreated, treated unfairly, or taken advantage of.  They themselves and their family members are doing fine, they are making money, so they really don’t care.

If people in Dickinson stopped using the local businesses, and didn’t spend any money at the local businesses, this would make things not O.K. for the local business owners and the local families who try to piss on everyone else.

Here is what you can do:

  • Stop using local banks, so that the greedy unethical North Dakota owners don’t get your money.
  • Buy whatever you can at Walmart and Menards to prevent the local business owners from getting your money.
  • Order whatever you can online and have it shipped to you, to prevent local business owners from getting your money.
  • Drive to Bismarck and do your shopping so that the local business owners in Dickinson do not get your money.
  • Drive to Bismarck on the weekend and visit the restaurants, stores, and bars in Bismarck instead of spending your money in Dickinson.

The local business owner families in Dickinson, not only do they not care about you, they want to keep you down.  They want to make sure that you are charged the maximum amount possible for your housing, your rent, your car repair, the things you buy, so that you can never get ahead, and never get out of debt.

The local business owner families in Dickinson want to make sure that you are paid as little as possible, not promoted, not approved for a loan, so that you and your family can never get ahead, and so that their family members can prosper, not you.

Why would you continue to spend your money in Dickinson to support the people who mistreat you, take advantage of you, and disrespect you?

Everyone In Dickinson Needs To Start Reading Google News Stories

For the past eight years I have struggled to understand the mechanisms at work which cause things to happen in Dickinson, North Dakota.  It has been difficult for me to read what is reported in the Dickinson Press newspaper, and try to figure out the origin of these events well enough to be able to have an overall understanding of what is happening, and why.  My goal was to know what was going to happen, ahead of time.

I mentioned a month or two ago that I realized that I had relied too much on the Dickinson Press newspaper for my information.  There was so much more being reported elsewhere that the people in Dickinson really needed to know.  They could have been much better prepared for what was to come.

For instance, it was never pointed out to me by the Dickinson Press that one of the largest locally operating oil companies, Whiting Petroleum, had a stock price decline from $370/share in 2014 to $1.37/share recently in 2020.  This was something that we all needed to know in Dickinson.  Whiting Petroleum is one of the biggest employers in Dickinson, and many people in Dickinson receive oil revenue payments from Whiting Petroleum oil wells located on their property.

This morning I read on Google News Stories, that Whiting Petroleum has just declared bankruptcy, and their stock price went down to 37 cents/share:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-01/whiting-petroleum-files-for-bankruptcy-amid-oil-price-collapse

https://www.barrons.com/articles/whiting-petroleum-files-for-chapter-11-bankruptcy-51585753208

Google, especially on people’s mobile phones, provides the top five or six news stories of the moment, that are most relevant to where you are located.  For me, a dozen times per day, when I look at Google on my mobile phone, they have oil industry news stories from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, and many other oil industry journals.

Every day in this past month of March 2020, I have been reading in-depth expert analysis of international events, OPEC, Texas oil associations, Canadian oil industry and transport, U.S. legislation, Canadian legislation, oil company stock market price trends, oil company financial statements and loan debt, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, etcetera.  All of their indicators and predictions have foretold what eventually happened a few days or a few weeks later.

These very large news agencies have the budgets to allow highly intelligent journalists/investigators/analysts to devote all of their time to focusing solely on the energy industry, stock market trends, government legislation, and so forth.

Sometimes this is not easy reading, it is too complicated or incorrectly supposes some expertise on the part of the reader.  Fortunately, there are usually several different news agencies or industry journals that cover the exact same topic on the same day.

For at least two months, oil industry analysts have been pointing out that Whiting Petroleum had a huge loan debt, something like $2.2 billion, that was way out of proportion to both the revenue and the net worth of Whiting.  Much of this debt was becoming due in 2020, this was one of the main reasons why the stock price of Whiting dropped to $1.37 per share in March, that plus the price of oil dropping to $20 per barrel, and the coronavirus shut down of the economy.

The oil industry analysts have been going through the financial statements of all of the large and small oil companies.  It turns out, that nearly all of the oil companies involved in fracking over the last ten years, have spent and borrowed way more money than they have earned.  All of the oil companies involved in fracking had the belief that as long as they kept drilling new wells, eventually they would have a large enough revenue stream to pay off all of their debt, but that never actually happened for any of these companies, they all made this same mistake.

The price of oil dropping to $20 per barrel, the oversupply of oil that exists, the coronavirus shutting down the economy, has made everyone in the oil industry stop and look at what they are doing.  It is now universally realized, that the oil companies can’t continue doing what they have been doing.  Because of this, the stock price of two of the largest oil companies operating in this area, Continental Resources and Marathon Oil, have also dropped greatly.

https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/investing/T052-S001-7-oil-and-gas-stocks-dangerous-waters/index.html

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/big-shale-borrowers-fast-track-100000698.html

What only a few journalists/investigators/analysts are writing about, is the oil company disaster that is coming if and when the Democrats ever win the Presidency, and a majority in the House or Senate.  The Democrats have said that they want to ban fracking, which is the only way to retrieve North Dakota oil.  Additionally, the Democrats may even initiate gigantic lawsuits seeking damages and reparations for supposed environmental damage caused by the fracking oil companies such as Continental Resources, Marathon Oil, Whiting Petroleum, and many others. How could all of these oil companies not go bankrupt with a ban on fracking and these lawsuits?

The future of Dickinson, North Dakota is being told by these daily Google News Stories.  The people here don’t have to be in the dark about what is going to happen.

How Dickinson Works, And What Is Going To Happen, Part II

Although this blog post is a continuation from Part I, here is where I begin explaining the basis for understanding how Dickinson, North Dakota works.

If anyone wants or expects to be successful in Dickinson, they must first understand how Dickinson works.  I am going to start off with the simplest, most important facts first.

Foremost, Dickinson is the regional center for shopping, supplies, and services for the geographical areas consisting of Medora, Belfield, South Heart, New Hradec, Manning, Killdeer, Halliday, Dodge, Gladstone, Taylor, Richardton, Lefor, Regent, and New England.  No matter what else happens, Dickinson being the supply center for these aforementioned towns is not likely to change for a long time.  The next largest city, Bismarck, the state capital, is 100 miles to the east.  Here is a map of the Dickinson area
https://images.app.goo.gl/su98oCKBHxrKd3pNA

Geographically, there is nothing special or unique about Dickinson.  It sits on a rolling, nearly tree-less prairie, just like all of the other towns in this area.  Dickinson got its start the same way as all of the other towns in western North Dakota, it was settled by land-grant homesteaders after the passage of the 1862 Homestead Act.  The homesteaders in the Dickinson area were primarily immigrants from Ukraine, Germany, and Scandinavia.

The fourteen towns that I mentioned earlier, Medora, Belfield, South Heart, New Hradec, Manning, Killdeer, Halliday, Dodge, Gladstone, Taylor, Richardton, Lefor, Regent, and New England, by the early 1900s each of these towns had their own general store, school house, and churches.  Before the invention and widespread use of the automobile, it took much more time to travel, it was done by horse, buggy, wagon, or on foot.  Even small communities had to have some local businesses, a school house, and churches.

Some of the factors or circumstances that caused Dickinson to grow more than the surrounding towns were:  the Northern Pacific railroad was built through Dickinson in the 1880s;  the 40-room St. Josephs Hospital was built in Dickinson in 1911;  Dickinson  State University was founded in 1918;  the Dickinson Municipal Airport began airline service in 1959;  Interstate 94 was completed through Dickinson in the 1960s.

As Dickinson grew, gained more businesses, provided more services, and its infrastructure grew, the surrounding towns began to rely more and more on Dickinson for supplies and services.  Unfortunately, as time went on, the surrounding towns began to lose many of their own local businesses and services, because of Dickinson.

For instance, the towns of Medora, Belfield, South Heart, New Hradec, Manning, Halliday, Dodge, Gladstone, Lefor, Regent, and New England no longer have a grocery store, family clothing store, appliance store, drug store, pharmacy, clinic, or doctor.  Most of the surrounding towns do not have an automobile dealer, an automobile repair shop, a tire dealer, or barber shop.

The following are the essential businesses in Dickinson, the type of businesses that this area can not go without:

Four grocery stores, five hardware stores, two farm/ranch supply stores, three building supply stores, five tire stores, nine automobile dealers, nine auto repair shops, four automobile tow companies, four pharmacies, two funeral homes, five liquor stores, and Walmart.

The following businesses in Dickinson are almost essential to this area:

Three truck stops, two tractor truck repair/parts centers, several heavy equipment/farm equipment dealer/repair/parts centers, three heavy equipment rental yards, several industrial/electrical/welding supply warehouses, three utility/livestock trailer dealer/repair centers, ten fast food restaurants, half a dozen furniture stores, and eleven banks.

These aforementioned businesses in Dickinson are either essential or very nearly essential to this area.  Because of these businesses, this is what brings people to Dickinson, brings money to Dickinson, and provides employment for people in Dickinson.  Without these businesses, there would be no people coming to Dickinson, no money coming into Dickinson, no employment in Dickinson, and very few people able to live in Dickinson.

When I start to list the essential services in Dickinson below, such as the schools and hospitals, the reader must remember, if it were not for the large number of essential businesses in Dickinson that bring people to Dickinson, there would not be enough people living in Dickinson to have schools and hospitals.  The services are here, because of the number of people here, and the number of people here, are the result of the large number of essential businesses in Dickinson.

The following are the essential services in Dickinson, the services that this area can not go without:

Two public utility companies, two public phone service companies, one ambulance service, two medium size hospitals, half a dozen medical clinics, half a dozen dentists, several optometrists, police department, sheriff department, regional jail, several fire stations, highway patrol office, city maintenance department, department of transportation office, driver’s license office, regional court house, one post office, two high schools, middle school, several elementary schools, and several veterinarians.

The following services in Dickinson are very nearly essential to this area:

One regional airport with private airplane and commercial airline service, one bus service, several car rental services, half a dozen taxi services, a dozen motels/hotels, many beauticians and barbers, two dozen attorneys, a dozen CPAs, many residential and commercial contractors in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, home construction, concrete, and excavation.

I spent some time trying to specifically identify the essential businesses and essential services in Dickinson, to make everyone completely aware, that many of the other types of businesses and services in Dickinson are just supplemental, they are not critical.

Some of the supplemental, non-critical types of businesses and services in Dickinson are:

Traditional restaurants, pizza delivery, ice cream parlors, coffee shops, bars, sports bars, bicycle shops, guns stores, sporting goods stores, movie theaters, motorcycle dealers, snow mobile dealers, UTV dealers, travel trailer dealers, tattoo parlors, vehicle accessory dealers, jewelry stores, dance studios, fitness centers, tanning salons, pawn shops, daycare centers, insurance agencies, real estate agencies.

Lastly, I need to name some of the large companies that operate in Dickinson, that have not been covered yet because they are not an essential business or service in Dickinson, but they do employ many people in Dickinson.  These are companies that perform work or sell products outside of the Dickinson area:

Halliburton, Schlumberger, BJ Services, Marathon Oil, Continental Resources, Philips Conoco, Whiting Petroleum, Key Energy, MBI, Nuverra, Lufkin, Fisher Industries, General Steel, Medora Corporation, Steffes, TMI cabinets, Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing, Martin Construction, Northern Improvement, Baranko Brothers, Tooz Construction, and Winn Construction.

There are several reasons why I separated the businesses and services in Dickinson into separate categories. One reason was to provide clarity on what types of businesses and services there are in Dickinson; Second, I wanted to differentiate between essential/non-essential businesses and services; and Third, I wanted to be able to show how the end of the oil boom in Dickinson is going to affect businesses, services, and employment in Dickinson based on the role of the business or service in the economy.

The most recent oil boom in North Dakota lasted from 2007 through 2015.  Due to the price of oil dropping from over $100 per barrel to less than $50 per barrel in 2015, the oil companies decreased drilling operations.

The number of operating oil drill rigs in North Dakota went from over 200 to less than 50 currently.  Less drilling meant less well sites being developed, less drill rigs operating, less drill rigs being transported, less hydraulic fracturing, less sand and water hauling, less work-over rig completions, less pump jacks being installed, less cranes being rented, less tractor truck and hot shot transportation of material and equipment to the oil field.

The number of workers employed in the oil field decreased.  Many of the oil field workers who lost their job left the Dickinson area.  Consequently, there were fewer purchases and less money spent at local businesses such as auto dealers, auto repair shops, tire stores, furniture stores, grocery stores, hardware stores, restaurants, bars, sporting goods stores, movie theaters, etcetera.

Many workers leaving Dickinson caused there to be a decreased demand for housing.  The number of new and existing homes and apartments available for occupancy, exceeded the demand.  This was a signal that new homes, new apartments, new businesses, new shopping centers, new roads, and new infrastructure might not need to be constructed.

The residential and commercial construction industries slowed down in the Dickinson area.  This meant even more unemployed workers leaving the Dickinson area.  Less heavy equipment was being purchased, less heavy equipment was being rented, less building supplies were being purchased, local businesses had fewer customers and fewer purchases, less services were being used, more homes and apartments became vacated.

Near the beginning of March 2020, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and Russia did not agree to reduce the amount of oil that they were producing.  This caused an oversupply of oil on the World market, and the price of oil in the U.S. dropped to $31 per barrel after the first week of March.  This oil price drop is predicted to start a whole new oil industry slow down, with even less oil well sites being developed and drilled.

The oil field work in Dickinson is expected to decrease even further now, with more oil field workers losing their jobs and leaving Dickinson.  There will be even fewer customers and less money spent at local businesses and services in Dickinson.

The essential businesses in Dickinson, such as grocery stores, hardware stores, automobile dealers, and tire stores, they will have fewer customers, they will be less busy, and some of these businesses will reduce their number of employees.

The nearly essential business such as heavy equipment dealers, heavy equipment repair, trailer dealers, furniture stores, and banks will reduce their number of employees.

The essential service providers such as medical clinics and schools will eventually reduce some of their staff as there are fewer people in Dickinson.

The nearly essential service providers such as beauticians, attorneys, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC will have less work.

Supplemental non-critical businesses and services in Dickinson that will have less work, and require fewer workers are restaurants, coffee shops, tattoo parlors, recreational vehicle dealers, daycare centers, insurance agencies, and real estate agencies.

Some of the large employers in Dickinson who will have less work, and could reduce their workforce are:  Halliburton, Schlumberger, BJ Services, Marathon Oil, Continental Resources, Conoco Philips, Whiting Petroleum, MBI, Nuverra, Lufkin, Steffes, Martin Construction, Northern Improvement, Baranko Brothers, Tooz Construction, and Winn Construction.

Once essential businesses, essential service providers, supplemental business and services, and some of the largest employers in Dickinson have let some of their workers go, these unemployed workers and their families may have to leave the Dickinson area.  This in turn will make Dickinson even smaller, with even less consumers.

Dickinson will continue to be the regional supplier of goods and services for this area, because there are fourteen smaller towns surrounding Dickinson that rely on it.  I estimate that the population of Dickinson right now is approximately 24,000 people.  By the year 2022, I believe that the population of Dickinson will have decreased to about 21,000 people.

The reason for the expected decline in population, is because of the reduced work in the oil field.  Unemployed oil field workers will leave Dickinson, local businesses and services will become less busy, these local businesses and services will lay off some of their workers.  These unemployed workers and their families will leave Dickinson.

How Dickinson Works, And What Is Going To Happen, Part I

When I became an adult, and was living on my own, whatever town or city that I was living in, I tried to figure out what was going on, what was happening, and what were the causes and reasons for what was happening.

Whether it was my hometown, a college town like Gainesville, a city like Tampa, or a mountain destination town like Flagstaff, I took an interest in the nicest, largest homes, the wealthiest neighborhoods, and I wondered who were the people who lived there, what did they do for a living, and how did they make their money?

The people who were able to afford very nice homes, nice automobiles, and enjoyed a high standard of living, I believed that if I could learn some of the things that they had done to become successful, maybe I could copy them or adapt some of the things that they had done, in order to become successful too.

Successful people who won the lottery or inherited a large amount of money from their relatives, you obviously can’t just copy that.  Medical doctors who became wealthy as they got older, most people aren’t able to become a doctor in the first place.  Wealthy real estate brokers, insurance company owners, car dealership owners, manufacturing company owners, and other business owners, these people caused me to wonder how they got started.

When I had the chance to talk to and get to know wealthy, successful business owners, it turned out that their success had a lot to do with being in the right place, at the right time, with the right idea, and a willingness to take risks at that time.  There was some “dumb luck”, or “blind luck”, but these people also had an understanding or belief that their idea would work at that particular time and place, that came from their understanding of what was going on in the World, and the place that they were.

What I am trying to explain, is that if you want to be successful, you first have to understand where you are, what is going on, and what is happening where you are.  You, the reader, are probably thinking that I am pointing out the obvious, thinking, “Of course people try to understand what is happening around them.”  But, no, they don’t, not really.  Most people just get an impression or idea in their head, and that is their conclusion.  They don’t think any further, to test, challenge, examine, or validate their conclusions.

In Dickinson, North Dakota, where I am currently living, most of the people here form their opinion about reality from listening to their neighbors, friends, relatives, local politicians, community leaders, and Chamber of Commerce; from watching television news stations out of Bismarck and Fargo; from reading the Bismarck Tribune or Dickinson Press newspaper; or from what they see on Facebook or hear on the radio.  These sources that I just mentioned are O.K. to get information from, but the impression that local people get from these sources, is their conclusion, they don’t think any further to examine, analyze, test, check, or question their immediate conclusions.

Concerning Dickinson, what the newscasters in Bismarck or Fargo said on the nightly news, what nationwide newscasters said, what local politicians, community leaders, company owners, business managers, and Chamber of Commerce representatives said in newspaper, radio, or television interviews, when their statements didn’t seem to match what was actually happening in Dickinson, I was angry about it, because people in Dickinson formed their understanding of reality and made their life decisions based on incorrect information that was being reported, written, said, and spread.

Questioning what newscasters in Bismarck, Fargo, or New York said about Dickinson, had they ever even been to Dickinson?  It turns out, that most news reporters and writers for television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and journals were getting their information from local politicians, community leaders, company owners, business managers, and Chamber of Commerce representatives, a group of people who can’t or won’t ever say anything other than positive outlook statements.

The following misinformation was reported so often and repeated so often that most of the people in Dickinson still to this day, think that this is reality:  One, “This oil boom is going to last for the next twenty years.” and Two, “Everyone working in the oil field is making $100,000 per year.”

The oil boom in North Dakota lasted from 2007 through 2015.  This oil boom began once the price of oil was over $100 per barrel, it became profitable to extract North Dakota oil through the process of hydraulic fracturing.  Once the price of oil dropped below $50 per barrel in 2015, it was no longer profitable for oil companies to drill and use hydraulic fracturing to produce oil.

The number of operating oil drill rigs in North Dakota went from over 200, to less than 50 currently.  From 2015 through the present, residents in Dickinson still express the belief, “It’s going to come back.” and “It’s starting to pick back up again.”  In the history of the World, there has never been an oil boom that lasted more than ten years in one place, but the people in Dickinson do not believe this reality.

One of the largest oil companies operating in the Dickinson area, is Whiting Petroleum.  The stock price of Whiting Petroleum reached an all-time high of $370 per share in 2014.  Last week, Whiting Petroleum stock was trading at $1.28 per share.  In the past year, Whiting Petroleum laid off one-third of its workforce in order to cut costs.

Many people in Dickinson have believed for years that, “Everyone working in the oil field is making $100,000 per year.”  This has never been true, and it certainly is not true now.  This belief, and the belief that “It’s starting to pick back up again” has misguided many of the people in Dickinson, causing them to make bad life decisions.

Instead of realizing that the oil boom in North Dakota was a once-in-a-lifetime, short-lived deal, most of the people in Dickinson acted like there was no end to it.  The sudden dramatic increase in local business, the sudden increase in demand for goods, services, and housing, allowed many local people to make windfall money, especially land owners and people who owned the mineral rights on land.

What did the local people in Dickinson do with their windfall money?  Most of them purchased the most expensive, over-priced, top-of-the-line pickup truck, travel trailer, UTV, toy hauler, or snow mobile.  Now, looking back on these purchases made in 2008-2014, roughly ten years later, all of these things are worth less than half of what they originally cost, and they are continuing to decline in value until they are nearly worthless.

Had the people in Dickinson known the truth, that this North Dakota oil boom would last from 2007-2015, they may not have spent their windfall money so carelessly and frivolously, and instead saved and invested their money so that it would last them for the remainder of their lives.

Another thing that happened in Dickinson during the oil boom, the housing prices doubled, then quadrupled.  A house in Dickinson that might have sold for $75,000 in 2006, the asking price in 2012-2014 might have been $300,000.  Some local people, and some out-of-state workers, bought houses in Dickinson at the peak of the oil boom real estate market.  They did this, because they believed that the oil boom would continue, they had better buy a house now, the house prices would only continue to increase.

Now that the oil boom is over in Dickinson, a house that was purchased for $300,000 in 2012-2014, it might only sell for $200,000 now, or it might not even sell at $150,000.  Most of the people in Dickinson are not making very much money now, many people have left Dickinson, and many people have job uncertainty.

Everyone in Dickinson needs to start over on assessing what reality is in Dickinson, what is going on, what is happening, what are the reasons and causes for what is happening.  In my next blog post, Part II, I will start with the basic essential businesses, services, and employees in Dickinson, that which everything else is built upon, so that people can see and understand what is happening, and what is going to happen.

The Truth About What Is Going To Happen To Dickinson, North Dakota

It is tiring, frustrating, and upsetting to me, to continue to see people in Dickinson refusing to recognize and acknowledge what is going to happen to Dickinson, North Dakota.  I don’t want to see anyone being taken advantage of, and that is the way that I look at what people are attempting to do in Dickinson, to deceive others for financial gain.

Why can’t everyone just accept and admit, that Dickinson already experienced an oil boom in the 1950s and the late 1970s, and that after each of these oil booms Dickinson experienced a contraction in the economy, many people losing high paying jobs, businesses closing, people moving away, property decreasing in value and becoming difficult to sell.  This most recent oil boom ended in 2015, there will be a continued decrease in the population of Dickinson, but no one will admit this, and everyone is pretending that this isn’t going to happen.

The very wealthy owners of the local banks in Dickinson, most of whom do not live in Dickinson, have already put in place lending policies that show that they understand what is going to happen in Dickinson: many people losing their jobs, many people moving away, properties decreasing in value, and properties becoming difficult to sell.  I will give three brief example of these local bank lending policies:

I wanted to purchase a manufactured home in Belfield on its own 75’x140′ lot that was for sale for $20,000 to $25,000.  This treed and grass corner lot with water, sewer, and electric to it was probably worth $20K, without even considering the 3br, 1ba fully furnished home in good condition with new siding, added enclosed porch, and added open deck.  I contacted five local banks, and each one of them said that they had been instructed to not make any loans on manufactured homes, no matter how much land was involved.

A neighbor of mine who is 53 years old, wanted to purchase a home in our neighborhood that was for sale for $130,000.  This neighbor had made about $45,000 per year for the past eight years with his current employer.  He is single, and he had just finished paying about $900 per month in child support for the past fifteen years.  If he continued to allocate this $900 per month toward house payments, he could have paid off this house mortgage in fifteen years.  The bank told him no, as if his income and eight year job history at the same company in Dickinson didn’t mean anything, like they were expecting him to lose his job and not be able to get another job.

Another neighbor of mine who is in his forties and single, he has made about $42,000 per year for the past four years with his current employer.  He wanted to buy a house, so he completed a mortgage application with a local bank.  The bank approved him for a mortgage of up to $80,000.  If you go on the internet and use a mortgage calculator, this $80,000 mortgage would have a monthly payment of less than $400 per month.  With a single man having a take-home pay after taxes of $2,700 per month, why would the bank calculate that he could only afford $400 per month on housing?  It’s like the bank didn’t expect him to keep his job, or be able to get another job.

From the three examples above, the local bank lending policies indicate that they don’t expect local people to keep their job, be able to get another job, and the banks don’t want to foreclose on properties in order to sell them to recover the unpaid balance on loans, because these properties will not be worth the unpaid loan amount, and these properties will not sell.

There are people and groups in Dickinson that like to talk about how Dickinson is growing, which isn’t going to happen the way that they say it is.  Dickinson is going to shrink and contract for at least the next several years.  I am tired of hearing about several specific examples of growth and prosperity in Dickinson, which in my opinion, these examples are hoaxes, as they aren’t going to happen any time soon:  the Davis Refinery, the Odyssey Theaters Cinema Complex, and the Dickinson Hills Shopping Center.

I have written about, and explained the proposed Davis Refinery west of Belfield twice before.  The original proposed cost of the Davis Refinery was $900 million, twice the cost of the Dakota Prairie Refinery west of Dickinson which was built by the huge utility company Montana Dakota Utilities.  How was the proposed $900 million Davis Refinery going to be built, by an investor group who had never built a refinery before, who were in fact seeking initial investments to help cover the cost of permitting and planning?  My personal opinion is that the proposed Davis Refinery developers have only raised $10 million to $40 million.

A year or two ago the City of Dickinson sold a public parking lot located behind the U.S. Post Office to Odyssey Theaters, supposedly so that they could build an 8 cinema movie theater complex.  Most people in Dickinson have noticed that there is a shortage of parking downtown, even more so now that the City of Dickinson sold a public parking lot that was almost always full.  Where are the customers of this proposed 8 cinema movie theater complex going to park?  Construction was supposed to start this Spring, meaning now, but I don’t think that construction will start this year.

The developers of the proposed Dickinson Hills Shopping Center asked the City of Dickinson about a year ago if the City would pay for the extension of Fairway Street into their development.  The City agreed to pay for this $1.3 million road extension if the developers could show that they had lease commitments from tenants.  A few months ago the City Attorney Jan Murtha did look over signed lease agreements from Hobby Lobby, T.J. Maxx, Shoe Department Encore, and Dollar Tree.  My opinion, is that although these four tenants signed valid lease agreements, there was no penalty to the developer if they did not move forward with construction.  My opinion, is that the developer wanted the access road into their proposed development, so that they could sell this property, and not move forward with construction at this time.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, his Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, and Wayne’s cousin Stephen Stenehjem CEO and president of First International Bank & Trust, have all had to deal with embarrassing business fiascoes in Dickinson many times in the past several years:  Dickinson State University awarding degrees to foreign students who did not complete the required curriculum;  the DSU Foundation having to be dissolved and held in receivership to determine what was going on and where the money went;  Hawks Point Assisted Living Facility on the DSU campus failing to repay their loan from First International Bank & Trust;  DSU and the DSU Foundation failing to repay their loans for the construction of the Biesiot Activities Center.

People in Fargo and Bismarck are very aware of the business practices and outcomes in Dickinson, North Dakota.  The Catholics collected and spent over $75 million in Federal grant money and donations to construct a new hospital in Dickinson, shutting down the old hospital.  Many knowledgeable health care employees and residents in Dickinson came to realize that the old hospital that was shut down, had more emergency medical care capabilities, more critical care capabilities, more medical treatment services, and a building with a basement that could withstand a tornado.

Therefore, when a group business people and Dickinson State University people got together and created the Theodore Roosevelt Foundation in order to raise funding to build a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Dickinson, the Governor of North Dakota stepped in and stopped that, No Way.  The people in Fargo and Bismarck are fully aware of how the people in Dickinson are.  No way were they going to allow a group of people in Dickinson to collect millions in government grants and donations, obtain construction loans, overpay contractor buddies to perform work, get a substandard inadequate facility, not repay the construction loans, and not be able to account for where all of the money went.

It’s not just the business practices in Dickinson that the rest of the state takes notice of, it’s how the people in Dickinson behave and treat other people.  This is another reason why the Governor of North Dakota intervened to not allow the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum to be built in Dickinson, because of how the visitors would be treated in Dickinson and how the people behave in Dickinson.  Here are some examples:

  • During the oil boom, the people in Dickinson quadrupled the rent that they charged the out-of-state workers.
  • During the oil boom, the people in Dickinson voted to not allow “Man Camp” temporary worker housing in the county to alleviate the housing shortage.
  • Though many, many people in Dickinson received windfall sums of money from oil wells on their property, the people in Dickinson deliberately refused to construct a homeless shelter.  Out-of-state workers who could not afford the quadrupled rent, slept in their cars, underneath bridges, in the bushes along the railroad tracks, on the embankments of drainage ditches, or outside behind the truck stop.
  • When the ratio of men to women in Dickinson was 3:1, the Dickinson Police made a fake advertisement for a woman offering sex on the internet. When a man called to arrange to meet her, the fake woman made up the statement that she was under 18.  The Dickinson Police then tried to charge the man with Commercial Sex Traffic of a Minor, a twenty year sentence, and he never even met the woman.
  • The bars and restaurants in Dickinson hire methamphetamine addict and heroin addict criminal women from Spokane, Seattle, and Coeur D’Alene to work as servers, performing no background checks.
  • The employers in Dickinson hire drug addict felons with multiple convictions, performing no or inadequate background checks.

Because of the end of the oil boom, the population of Dickinson will continue to decrease for years to come.  The people in Dickinson refuse to acknowledge this, and they even point to signs of growth which are actually hoaxes, that will not happen.  The very wealthy successful people like the local bank owners know what is going to happen in Dickinson, and they have practices in place that indicate they expect an out migration.

The Governor of North Dakota, the Attorney General of North Dakota, other wealthy successful people in North Dakota know all about the business practices in Dickinson, the business schemes of the people in Dickinson, what they do with government grant money and donations, how they don’t repay loans, how they are unaccountable for money, how the people in Dickinson treat other people, and how the people in Dickinson behave.  Not only did they intervene to prevent the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum from being built in Dickinson, they wanted to close down the Women’s Correctional Facility in New England, and they will probably seek the closure of Dickinson State University before long.

In the near future, Dickinson will begin to change more toward what New England, Belfield, and Richardton are like.  You don’t understand, this is what the wealthy, successful, influential people in Bismarck and Fargo want.  They do not want Dickinson to grow, they want Dickinson to shrink.  Not only do they not like Dickinson, and do not believe in Dickinson, they don’t want the oil revenue money from western North Dakota being wasted on improving Dickinson.  As far as they are concerned, they would like to see Dickinson as just unimproved grassland, and all of you Dickinson people gone, because you just can’t seem to change and get with the program, you remain backwards.

I Wish That I Could Force You To Understand Dickinson, North Dakota

I have been writing about Dickinson, North Dakota on this blog website for a little over four years now.  For those of you who don’t know why I started writing about Dickinson, it was because Dickinson, Williston, and Minot, North Dakota were the towns in the middle of the Oil Boom in North Dakota that occurred from 2007 through 2014, and I was living in Dickinson.

During the Oil Boom years, there was a great amount of chaos, confusion, development, excitement, optimism, hype, misinformation, and people being taken advantage of.  For those of you who don’t remember, have forgotten, or never knew what happened from 2007 through 2014 in Dickinson, here is a short synopsis:

Most people did not know that 2007 through 2014 was North Dakota’s third Oil Boom.  There was an oil discovery boom in the 1950s, and there was an oil market shortage boom in the late 1970s.  Dickinson had experienced an influx of oil field workers and oil companies before, in the 1950s, and the 1970s.  Well-informed people, well-educated people, and intelligent business people in Dickinson knew from past experience that these Oil Booms last about seven years, that’s why they are called a “Boom” in the first place.

However, even though there were very wealthy people, moderately wealthy people, influential people, politicians, elected representatives, large land owners, and community leaders in Dickinson who all knew from the previous two Oil Booms in North Dakota, that these Oil Booms last for about seven years, rather than trying to manage this Oil Boom in the most effective way for everyone, they either tried to benefit personally at the expense and suffering of others, or they did nothing to stop the taking advantage and suffering of others.

For those of you who were not here, or do not know what I am talking about when I write about the taking advantage of others and the suffering of others, I will explain:

All over the United States, television, radio, newspaper, and magazine media frequently announced that everyone working in North Dakota was making over $100,000 per year due to the Oil Boom.  This was not true at all, the average wage rate in western North Dakota was about $15 per hour at the time.

Believing that they were going to make $100,000 per year in North Dakota like they heard about, people who were struggling financially, or who were broke, used the very last money that they had to travel to Dickinson or Williston.  When they got here, one-bedroom apartments that had once rented for $300 per month, were now $1,500 per month.  With $3,000 due at lease signing for first month’s rent and security deposit, for the cheapest apartments available, most people could not afford a place to live.

Though business was booming in Dickinson, and many wealthy people were becoming even wealthier, there was deliberately and intentionally no homeless shelter in Dickinson.  The people who had been lured to North Dakota by the announcements that everyone was making $100,000 per year, ended up sleeping in their cars in the parking lot of WalMart or the Tiger Truck Stop.  Or, if they arrived in Dickinson by bus or by hitch hiking, they slept under bridges, in the bushes at Patterson Lake, or in the bushes behind businesses.  In the winter, it gets down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit in Dickinson.

When quick, short-term housing solutions, such as the permitting of temporary housing called “man-camps” were proposed, the building permits were denied, due to citizens of Dickinson supposedly fearing “rape” from all the men.  However, the permits for many, many large apartment complexes were approved, even though the occupants would be the same men who would have lived in the man-camps, who were feared for “rape”, but apparently not if they paid $2,000 per month rent for a new apartment.

During the Oil Boom of 2007 through 2014, I witnessed many, many people arriving in Dickinson who were financially broke, who had been lured here by television, radio, newspaper, and magazine announcements about everyone making $100,000 per year in North Dakota.  This was not true, even after living in Dickinson for six years, I have only ever personally met about three or four people who made $100,000 for even one year, working in the oil field.

One of the very first things that I tried to do when I started this blog website four years ago, was to try to get the information out there, that most people were not making $100,000 per year in North Dakota or the oil field, that this was a lie.  I tried to explain what the employment situation was really like.  I tried to explain that only young men between the ages of 18 to 30 years old, who were able-bodied, in good physical condition, with no physical defect, would even be considered to start out working on an oil drill rig, where they would work 12 hours per day, for fourteen days in a row, at about $23 per hour, and make nearly $100,000 per year.

I tried to explain in my blog posts that the vast majority of the job openings in North Dakota were not on an oil drill rig, some were in the oil field, what these other oil field jobs were, what skills and abilities these other oil field jobs required, what it would be like working in the oil field, and what other jobs there were in Dickinson.

I also wrote blog posts explaining that there was a shortage of housing in Dickinson, and that housing was very expensive.  I tried to counter what the television, radio, newspapers, magazines, Chamber of Commerce, North Dakota Job Services, business owners, and politicians were saying in order to try to get people from all over the United States to move to Dickinson or Williston, not knowing what they would be getting into.

During the Oil Boom, I had jobs where I was paid $12 per hour, $15 per hour, $16 per hour, $17, $18, $19, and $20 per hour.  But I had a college degree in engineering, management experience, experience operating heavy equipment, experience in construction, experience in heavy mechanical equipment assembly, and I was able-bodied.  From what I saw, from the people that I worked with, and my experience living in Dickinson, the average hourly wage was about $15 during the Oil Boom.

There were times when the local WalMart paid $15 per hour.  But many businesses paid less than $15 per hour for store clerks, front desk people, customer service people, retail workers, fast food workers, restaurant workers, drivers, general laborers, caregivers, and many other jobs.  For instance, the TSA at the Dickinson airport paid officers $14 per hour.

At the same time that the average hourly wage in Dickinson was about $15 per hour, some of the cheapest old one-bedroom apartments rented for $1,500 per month.  If a person worked for 50 hours each week at $15 per hour, with overtime pay that comes out to about $820 per week before taxes, about $700 per week after taxes, and a take home pay of about $2,800 per month.

Starting out with a take home pay of $2,800 per month, and subtracting rent $1,500; utilities $150; cell phone $50; car insurance $100; car payment $200; fuel $150; leaves $650 left over for the entire month for food, clothing, and everything else.  That’s less than $20 per day that you could spend on food.  What if you had a child, a medical emergency, or a major car repair?

I wondered, and I wrote about, what kind of people would double, triple, and quadruple the rent and housing prices in order to gouge and take advantage of the out-of-state workers who came to Dickinson, many of whom were struggling financially to begin with or were completely broke?

You need to know and keep in mind, that outside of Dickinson there is more vacant, barren, flat, undeveloped land than almost anywhere else in the United States.  There is no scarcity of land to build on. The land outside of Dickinson is almost as vacant as the deserts of Arizona, Nevada, or Utah.  Though the land outside of Dickinson is not as dry as the desert, it is very, very cold in North Dakota from October through April, that’s seven months out of the year, and this is one of the reasons why there are less than one million people living in the entire state of North Dakota.

With such an abundance of vacant, barren, undeveloped land, why were the rent prices in Dickinson and Williston higher than any place else in the United States, higher than even New York City and San Francisco?  The local people liked to say that it was a matter of supply and demand, low supply of housing, and a high demand for housing.  But like I just got done explaining, there is more vacant, barren, undeveloped land outside of Dickinson, than almost any place else in the United States.

Keep in mind, that the well-informed people, well-educated people, the intelligent business people, the wealthy people, and the large land owners in Dickinson knew about the oil discovery boom in the 1950s, and the oil market shortage boom in the 1970s that occurred in North Dakota.  They knew from these previous two Oil Booms, about all the workers and oil companies that come to North Dakota during the Oil Booms.

The doubling, tripling, and quadrupling of the rent and housing prices that occurred in Dickinson, was not merely a matter of supply and demand.  There was more to it than that.  If you have foreknowledge that something is going to occur, where people will experience a scarcity or lack of some necessity, and you seek to take advantage of this scarcity, and even take steps to keep this scarcity from being alleviated so that you can personally benefit financially, you are unethically taking advantage and gouging other people.  I will give a couple of examples for you to think about:

When a hurricane was approaching the east coast of the United States, and everyone needed to prepare for an emergency, some businesses used to sharply increase the price of fuel, drinking water, plywood, generators, and other emergency supplies.  Do you know that this practice is now illegal, and that business owners are now criminally prosecuted for this?

What if you and your business associates created or helped form a retirement community in Nevada, an isolated community consisting of modest, inexpensive, single-wide manufactured homes on 50 ft. x 100 ft. lots, for sale for about $50,000.  Once each of these modest manufactured homes had been sold, what if you doubled, tripled, and quadrupled the price that you charged for water, knowing that there was no other water service available, and that the cost to drill a well would be about $20,000, which these low-income residents would be unable to afford?

Just because someone can see a way to take advantage of and gouge other people on the price of a necessity that they will need, this in no way means that this is ethical, moral, or even legal.

What was actually going on in Dickinson and Williston, was that the wealthy people, the business owners, the property owners, elected representatives, politicians, community leaders, spokespeople for the oil industry, and spokespeople for the North Dakota Job Services continued to perpetuate the lie that everyone who moved to North Dakota for work was making $100,000 per year, even though they knew that this was not true, that they would make much less money than this, and that more than half of their pay would be spent on housing because they had quadrupled the price of housing in North Dakota.

The reasons for spreading this lie all over the United States and luring people to North Dakota were:

  • To bring as many people as possible to the state to be able to rent, lease, and sell all property available.
  • To bring as many people as possible to the state to occupy or buy all property available, to cause a shortage, and be able to greatly increase rents, leases, and property prices.
  • To cause the need, the requirement, or the perception, that there needed to be new apartments constructed, new housing constructed, new retail stores constructed, new grocery stores, new schools, new hospitals, and new infrastructure like water towers and roads.
  • To lure property developers and business entrepreneurs to the state build developments and start new businesses.
  • To bring customers to the state to increase business and sales.
  • To greatly increase tax revenue to the state in sales tax, personal income tax, and property tax revenue.
  • To bring a surplus of workers to the state to try to keep wages low.

After writing about all of this for four years, I realized or discovered several surprising, sinister schemes.  What is even more surprising, and kind of funny, is that most of the people who sought to take advantage of others and be predatory, have been set up for financial ruin, and they don’t even know it yet.  I will explain.

The ordinary people in Dickinson, whether local people or from out-of-state, each of them are aware of only a fraction of what is going on.  They are often very susceptible to lies and misinformation, their circumstances in life change greatly when their rent is increased, their hourly wage rate is increased, or they lose their job.  They are practically slaves or livestock, and they don’t even know it.  They were likely to parrot the phrases that they were taught, such as “This Oil Boom is going to last for the next 20 years”, and then later “The Oil Boom is coming back” or the ever perpetual phrase “Things are starting to pick up again.”

The business people, business owners, property owners, property developers, elected representatives, Chambers of Commerce, oil industry spokespeople, and North Dakota government agency spokespeople, were or are, kind of like the herders, shepherds, shearers, fleecers, milkers, and egg gatherers of the ordinary people, who are like slaves or livestock.

The business people, business owners, property owners, property developers, elected representatives, Chambers of Commerce, oil industry spokespeople, and North Dakota government agency spokespeople thought that they were all in agreement, all with the same program, of continuing to encourage people to move to North Dakota because it accomplishes their goals of having customers, making sales, having properties rented or leased, having properties sell, keeping property values high, and keeping tax revenue coming in.  So they all keep making announcements that there are thousands of high paying job vacancies in the oil field of North Dakota, even though there aren’t.

But when I, and several of my friends were unable to get home loans from banks in Dickinson recently, I discovered something odd.  Eventually I realized that there is an entirely different plan in place, that is unknown to 99.95% of the people in Dickinson.  The wealthiest 0.05% of the people in Dickinson, which includes the local Bank owners, have a completely different plan.

Despite what the business owners, property owners, property developers, Chambers of Commerce, oil industry spokespeople, and North Dakota government spokespeople are saying about the thousands of high paying job vacancies in the oil field in North Dakota currently, in order to try to keep the economy going, the Bank owners and the wealthiest 0.05% are preparing for an economic collapse.

When I and several of my friends were denied home loans recently by Banks, even though our income was sufficient to make the mortgage payments, and we had each been at our present jobs for more than four years, it was like the Banks were saying, “Even though you currently earn enough money to make the mortgage payments, and you have been at your present job for more than four years, we don’t believe that you will keep your job, or be able to get another job in Dickinson, and we don’t want to foreclose on a property that will be worth much, much less than your mortgage with the bank.”  In other words, the Banks are preparing for an economic collapse in Dickinson, where many people will lose their job, be unable to get another job, and property values will fall.

I began to realize that what the Bank owners know, what the wealthiest 0.05% of North Dakotans knew all along, was that these Oil Booms in North Dakota last about seven years.  You can make money on the way up, you can rent properties, lease properties, sell properties, build some properties and sell them, but you need to sell or hold during the way up, don’t buy anything, unless it is very early on.  The real money to be made, is when the economic collapse comes, then you can buy businesses, equipment, buildings, houses, and properties for 10% of what they cost.

The funny thing is, that the business people, business owners, property owners, property developers, Chambers of Commerce, oil industry spokespeople, and North Dakota government spokespeople, all believed that they had the same goal, were on the same page about growth, and keeping the economy going, when all along the wealthiest 0.05% of North Dakotans were just eagerly awaiting the economic collapse that was inevitable.

The business people, business owners, property owners, and property developers that were kind of the herders, shearers, fleecers, milkers, and egg gatherers of the ordinary working people, taking advantage of them and gouging them on rent, leases, and real estate, once the economy in Dickinson collapses, they will be broke or in a very bad financial position.  The wealthiest 0.05%, who knew this was coming years ago, have been waiting for this.

Business people, business owners, property owners, and property developers that once took advantage of other people, will then be taken advantage of.  Whatever they built, created, bought, or owned, they will end up losing it, and perhaps be paid 10% of what it cost them.

Truth About The Work Situation In Dickinson, North Dakota

In the past two weeks, I have written three blog posts about three different couples that I have seen moving out of the low rent older apartment building where I live in downtown Dickinson, North Dakota.  Each of these three couples had moved to Dickinson about six months ago, and now they are leaving Dickinson.

Every day there are radio advertisements from local companies in Dickinson about how they offer competitive wages, paid family health insurance, and $3,000 to $6,000 sign-on bonuses.  About once each week, there is a representative from North Dakota Job Services talking about hundreds of job openings in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson.  Yet when I log on to the North Dakota Job Services website and I search for jobs in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson, there are fewer than forty current job openings in each of these towns, and one third of them are for medical professionals.

What is really going on?  To explain, I want to write about an experience that I had yesterday on Saturday November 10, 2018, in Dickinson:

I went to a gas station in Dickinson that I normally do not go to.  Working at the cash register, was a man that I had worked with in Dickinson seven years ago, back in 2011.  He is about 6′-3″, 300 lb, able-bodied, fairly intelligent, and he is from Dickinson.

In 2011, this man was the operations manager for the small oil field service company where I worked.  He was in charge of the crew trucks, equipment trailers, skid steers, backhoe, scissor lifts, snorkel lifts, lull, generators, compressors, compactors, and other tools.  He operated equipment in the company yard, and at the job sites where we worked.

This company where we worked constructed pump jack concrete foundation pads at oil field locations, salt waters disposal facilities, steel warehouse buildings, and performed work at several different refineries.  The operations manager ordered material for the work that was performed, and he sometimes supervised the work that was performed.

The operations manager did a pretty good job over all.  He worked at this small oil field service company for several years, before going to work for a supplier of oil field tools and equipment for several years.

Why is this big, strong, able-bodied, fairly intelligent, competent, local person, with ten years of experience working in the oil field, working as a cashier at gas station in Dickinson, if there are supposed to be hundreds of job openings in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson?

In my recent blog posts titled “The Truth About Living And Working In Dickinson, North Dakota”, “Truth And Lies About Living And Working In Dickinson, North Dakota”, and “Even More Truth And Lies About Living And Working In Dickinson, North Dakota”,  I have tried to explain that business people, property owners, property managers, and oil field companies are trying to “keep things going” by spreading false information.  They want to keep people moving to Dickinson to do business, so that the value of their properties remain high, to rent or lease properties, and to have a large pool of skilled labor in order to keep wages low.

Even More Truth And Lies About Living And Working In Dickinson, North Dakota

Today, Saturday November 10, 2018, I am yet again watching a couple move out of the low rent older apartment building in downtown Dickinson, North Dakota where I live.  No, this is not an across town move, because they have a pickup truck and a U-haul trailer, and they are very carefully trying to fit absolutely everything they own into this truck and trailer, because they are leaving Dickinson.

In the past thirty days, I have written two previous blog posts about two other couples who were moving out of the older apartment building where I live in Dickinson.  Both the first couple, and the second couple, the husband was truck driver.  Both of these two couples moved to Dickinson about six months ago.

On the radio in Dickinson, North Dakota for the past several months, there have been advertisements from local trucking companies about how they need truck drivers, they offer competitive wages, paid family health insurance, and a $3,000 to $6,000 sign-on bonus.

Why is it that truck drivers come to Dickinson for work, then they leave about six months later?  No, they didn’t make so much money that they are leaving.  I talked to them, I saw how they were living, I saw that they had very little, I sometimes saw and heard these couples arguments that continued through the parking lot and into the building, the kind of arguments that people have when money is scarce.

Also on the radio in Dickinson during the past sixty days, I have heard representatives from North Dakota Job Service talk about the great need for workers in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson, about several hundred job vacancies in Williston.  Yet when I log onto the North Dakota Job Services website, and search for job openings in Williston, Watford City, and Dickinson, I see that there are less than forty current job openings in Williston, and less than thirty current job openings in Watford City and Dickinson.  One third of these job openings are for Registered Nurses, Travel Nurses, and Medical Doctors, more job openings in the medical professions than there are in the oil field.

What is going on?  I know exactly what is going on, and what is happening.  Business owners, property owners, property managers, and oil companies want to “keep things going”.  The business owners want customers, the property owners want their property to continue to be worth money, the property managers want tenants, and the oil companies want to have a large pool of skilled trades people so that they can keep wages low, have the threat of easily replacing workers, and being able to replace skilled trades people like they were shop rags when they get worn out.

In my previous blog post, I found a short way to put it, if you are not from this area, you are treated like a migrant worker.  No matter if you have a college degree, management experience, or a great deal of work experience, if you are not from this area you are treated like a migrant worker.

What does this mean, being treated like a “migrant worker”?  It means that you will be followed more, stopped more, and treated with more scrutiny by the local city Police.  You are a good candidate for a DUI, a good source of revenue for the city when you pay your court fines, and how the local attorneys stay in business with the $3,000 retainer fee you will pay.

If you are not from this area, you will be treated like a migrant worker in many businesses, establishments, city, county, state, and federal offices in Dickinson.  At work, you will be disliked, mistrusted, mistreated, and undermined by your local co-workers, local administrators, local managers, and local company owners.

The truth is, that there are some job openings in Dickinson, and the wage rates are still above average, because no one wants to live or work in Dickinson.  The local people are unfriendly and hostile, the real estate prices are way too high, there is not a lot to do, there are very few places to go, and the local employers and the local co-workers treat out of state workers like shit.

The Best Seven Years For Dickinson, North Dakota

In 1996 I moved to Tampa to work for a company as an engineer.  I rented an apartment on Lake Magdelene in north Tampa.  Up until the 1950s, most of north Tampa was hundreds and hundreds of acres of orange groves.  As Tampa grew continually, it pushed northward into these orange groves.

This area of Tampa was very beautiful, or it had been.  There were probably nearly one hundred small lakes, ranging in size from fifty feet across, to Lake Magdelene which was about one mile in length.  Besides citrus trees like orange, tangerine, kumquat, lime, and grapefruit trees; banana trees, palm trees, oak trees, oleanders, dense hedges, ornamental plants, ferns, and flowers filled these middle class and upper middle class neighborhoods.

By the time that I moved to Tampa in 1996, Hillsborough County had grown to nearly one million people.  At this moment in time, the character of Tampa was about to change significantly.  The area north of Tampa, the orange groves and small lakes, was almost completely developed.  These very traditional, beautiful, comfortable suburban neighborhoods that had been built from the 1960s through the 1990s were done.

An unbelievable and unprecedented amount of new development began in what was called “New Tampa”, to the north west, on the west side of Interstate 75.  On the west side of Interstate 75, there were thousands of acres of cattle pasture and swamp land, this became “New Tampa”.

Every housing development in New Tampa was a “gated community”.  You exited Interstate 75 onto Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, and drove west until you reached the entrance to the gated community in which you lived, turned in, and drove through the entrance past the guard house and gate.  This entrance was the only way in, and the only way out.  Each gated community was surrounded by a combination of walls, earth berms, and tall hedges.

Besides being protected behind the walls, earth berms, and gates, or you could look at it as being a prisoner, which was often the case when you tried to leave in the morning during rush hour, these gated communities featured “McMansion” architecture.  “McMansion” architecture is where cheap construction methods and cheap materials are used to create intentionally tall entry ways and high roof peaks, to make a home look enormous and expensive.

I believed that I had arrived in Tampa about twenty years too late.  On weekends when I was living on Lake Magdalene, I would ride my bicycle through these beautiful thirty year old neighborhoods, with quiet tree lined streets, natural lakes in the backyards, community tennis courts, and small orange groves here and there.

In these thirty year old neighborhoods, everyone knew everyone on that street, and the next streets over.  Husbands and wives bought one of these houses when they were in their thirties, and stayed there even after their kids moved out, they retired, and became old.

Some of these houses were large five bedroom, three bathroom houses, but most of these houses were modest and unpretentious.  Due to the economy and nature of Tampa, with large corporations, an international airport, McDill AFB, international sea port, and professional sports teams, neighbors would have been doctors, lawyers, engineers, airline pilots, military officers, ship captains, or professional athletes.

For adults in these neighborhoods, especially the wives, it would have been very enjoyable to be able to socialize with so many other adults with similar education, professional level, income level, interests, and values.  Parents in these neighborhoods did not have to worry very much about where their kids were, because all of the parents watched all of these kids.

After school, and in the summer, the kids in these neighborhoods, could have gone swimming, fishing, canoeing, water skiing, sailing, or played tennis.  I don’t think there would be any question that each of these kids was expecting and planning on going to college, because that is what all of the other kids did, and that is what everyone’s parents had done.  There would not have been aimless, depressed, self-destructive, drug addict, hoodlum kids around.

So I would have liked to have been either a kid or an adult living in one of these middle class neighborhoods in north Tampa from 1960 to 1990.  I think that I would have been happier as a kid or an adult living among peers with the same interests, values, beliefs, and goals, in this warm, safe, beautiful environment, doing things that I like to do.  But after 1990, no way, Tampa became too huge and overwhelming.

I want to point out, that these middle class adults who lived in Tampa from 1960 through 1990, with their education, professionalism, values, beliefs, interests, and goals, they caused Tampa to thrive, and double in size.  Though these adults created and loved their quiet, peaceful, happy, suburban neighborhoods on the north side of Tampa, the growth that they caused, changed the character of Tampa, to something that they would not have liked, the “gated communities” with the “McMansions”.  However, they would have acknowledged there was no way to be able to stop this, it was inevitable.

I also want to point out, that the kids who grew up in these beautiful, safe, fun, middle class neighborhoods on the north side of Tampa, where everyone’s parents went to college, and everyone was going to go to college, that these kids were so solidly grounded, that I think that they could do O.K. living anywhere.  What I mean is, I think these kids all turned out so well due to the constant positive influence of their peers and the other parents, that I think these kids as adults could cope with living in an unpleasant city or urban area.  ( I base this belief on my experiences attending the University of Florida on a campus with what was then 35,000 students, where some students thrived and some students could not cope, not because of intelligence level, but because of their backgrounds.)

When I was living in Flagstaff, Arizona, which I loved, I also felt that I arrived there twenty to thirty years too late.  To save time, I could say that everything about Flagstaff was wonderful.  However, beginning in about year 2000, real estate prices began to skyrocket.  And from what I have been told, growth has just continued non-stop to this day, making not just the price of real estate a problem, but now over development is a problem too.

The best, most enjoyable years to live in Flagstaff, were probably the 1960s through the 1990s.  The town, the forests, the mountains, the beauty, the lifestyle, the people, the weather were all so enjoyable, that this is what led to real estate skyrocketing, and the over development.  It was just inevitable.

Finally, getting to what this blog post was supposed to be about, “The Best Seven Years For Dickinson, North Dakota.”  From 2007 through 2014, there was an Oil Boom in Dickinson, North Dakota.  Though there was an “Exploration Boom” in North Dakota in the 1950s, and there was a “Gas Price Oil Boom” in North Dakota in the 1970s, this most recent oil boom has had the most significant and greatest impact on Dickinson.

How can I say that 2007 through 2014 was “The Best Seven Years For Dickinson” ?  To begin, prior to 2007, the average hourly wage in Dickinson was probably about $8 per hour, with no opportunity to work overtime.  There were very few job openings, and very few opportunities to get a higher paying job.  There was no way for most Dickinson residents to get ahead financially.  It would have been difficult for most Dickinson residents to even be able to save enough money to get out of Dickinson and try to move some place else.

In addition to there being mostly only low paying jobs, with very few opportunities to get a higher paying job, everything in Dickinson was controlled.  The wealthy families in Dickinson, and the influential families in Dickinson, controlled who got hired, who got fired, who got a promotion, who got demoted, who got recognition, who got blame, who got arrested, who was not prosecuted, who got a home loan, who got a car loan, who was evicted, and so forth.

When the Oil Boom began in 2007, it was almost like the Dickinson residents were released from bondage.  There was such a demand for workers in the oil field, that any able bodied person in Dickinson could get a job immediately for at least $16 per hour, which is about twice the average hourly pay of $8 per hour, plus, they might be allowed to work as much as 40 hours of overtime each week.

Some Dickinson residents, who were in their forties, who had always been kept down in Dickinson, always receiving low pay, never getting a promotion, never being able to get a better job, never being able to get a home loan, all of a sudden went from making $320 per week, to making $2,000 per week.  And for once, there was no wealthy or influential family in Dickinson who could stop them.

When the Oil Boom began, a graduating high school student who would not have been able to find a job in Dickinson, could now get a job earning as much as $1,400 per week working in the oil field.  A graduating high school student who would have had no car, and had to live with his parents, could now get a job working in the oil field, buy a very nice truck, and rent their own apartment.

Once the Oil Boom began in Dickinson, young couples were each able to obtain good employment, get married, and buy their own home.  Older couples were each able to obtain good employment, pay off their credit card debt, pay off their car loans, and pay off their home loans.

Due to families in Dickinson owning farms, or having retained mineral rights, oil well lease signing checks and revenue checks, began earning many families in Dickinson thousands or tens of thousands of dollars each month.  Farmers purchased completely new farm equipment, trucks, and travel trailers.  Some families dispersed this monthly oil revenue money to their children and grandchildren.  Many family members in Dickinson receiving oil revenue money purchased new vehicles, motorcycles, travel trailers, did home remodels, or paid for their kids to go to college.

Due to the amount of oil field work in and around Dickinson, many new large warehouse buildings were built, new office buildings were built, new restaurants were built, a new shopping center was built.  About five new hotels and fifteen new apartment buildings were built.  Local land owners, real estate agents, and construction companies made money on these new building projects.  Some local residents started and grew their own oil field service companies and construction companies.

During this Oil Boom, the City of Dickinson was able to build one of the nicest recreation centers in the World.  It has two indoor swimming pools, one outdoor swimming pool, skateboard park, ice skating rink, two indoor tennis courts, three indoor racketball courts, four indoor basketball courts, one volleyball court, indoor golf simulator, rock climbing wall, indoor track, cardiovascular equipment area, weight lifting gym, aerobics studios, and child day care.

The City of Dickinson was able to build a new Police Department, have a new water tower, pave many roads, widen roads, add stop lights, build a new school, and have a new County Fairground.

Would I have wanted to be in Dickinson from 2007 through 2014?  Yes, I would have, especially if I would have been a resident of Dickinson.  I was in Dickinson on and off from 2011 until now in 2018.

Unlike my story about getting to Tampa too late, where Tampa kept growing and growing, or my story about getting to Flagstaff too late where Flagstaff kept growing and growing, I got to Dickinson too late, because Dickinson is contracting.

In my stories about Tampa and Flagstaff, conditions in these towns were so good, that it was inevitable that they would grow.  In Dickinson, conditions are so bad, that it is seems inevitable that Dickinson will decline.

One of the reasons why I am writing this particular blog post, and the way that I am writing it, is because the people in Dickinson do not know that 2007 to 2014 will likely be the best years that Dickinson has ever had, or will have.  I began with the two stories about Tampa and Flagstaff, to explain the inevitability of places changing, even if you do not want them to go in the direction that they are going in.

In the case of Tampa, there was so much continued growth because of the regional economy, low cost of living, good climate, recreation, entertainment, night life, fine dining, shopping, professional football, professional baseball, professional hockey, international airport, international sea port, U.S. Central Command McDill AFB, and the University of South Florida.

In Flagstaff, the continued growth had nothing to do with the regional economy or cost of living, neither of which are very good, it was the beauty of the town, the Coconino National Forest, the snow skiing, trail hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, the clear blue skies during the winter, the nightlife, friendly downtown, diverse and well educated population, low crime and no riff-raff hoodlums.

In Dickinson, after the Oil Boom ended in 2015, many of the oil field jobs went away, many oil field workers returned to the states where they came from, and subsequently other jobs went away in other areas of the economy.  The amount of oil field jobs continue to decrease, as do other jobs in other areas of the economy in Dickinson.  As there are fewer jobs in Dickinson, and a greater supply of workers than demand for workers, we are seeing the wage rates steadily decrease in Dickinson.

As there are fewer oil field jobs, fewer jobs in other areas, and wage rates are decreasing, the old practices of nepotism, favoritism, discrimination, prejudice, and exclusion in hiring, promotion, lay offs, and home lending are beginning to emerge again in Dickinson.

The people in Dickinson are unfriendly, the Police in Dickinson are encouraging people to leave Dickinson, the Police in Dickinson are discouraging people from going out at night, the restaurants are not very good, the restaurant servers are not very nice, there is shortage of women, there is scarcity of attractive women, the real estate prices are high, the real estate prices are likely to fall, there is too much crime in Dickinson, little entertainment, few recreation activities, and it is cold and grey for about seven months of the year in Dickinson.

The population of Dickinson is decreasing, Dickinson is contracting, and this is just going to continue.  The people in Dickinson refuse to see this or acknowledge this.  Some people believe the Oil Boom will come back.

In order for Dickinson to not contract, Dickinson would have to be a place where people would want to move, and stay.  Here are some changes that would be needed:

  • The Police in Dickinson need to find a way to stop the crime and drug dealing in Dickinson, without following, surveilling, and stopping non-criminal, law abiding people.
  • The Police in Dickinson need to find a way to allow adults to go out to restaurants and sports bars at night to socialize, without following, surveilling, and stopping them on their way home.
  • The people in Dickinson need to stop being mean and nasty to other people in general, and to cease nepotism, favoritism, prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion in hiring, firing, promotion, and bank lending.
  • The people in Dickinson need to stop being out-of-their minds as far as real estate prices in Dickinson.
  • The banks in Dickinson need to grant home loans to people who demonstrate that they can make the mortgage payments.
  • The restaurants in Dickinson need to stop using jaded, rough, mean drug addict women as servers, especially the ones from Spokane, Seattle, and Coeur D’Alene.
  • Dickinson needs to be a city that promotes health, such as hygiene, exercise, and fitness, and discourages smoking, tobacco, illegal drugs, over use of alcohol, and over eating.
  • Dickinson needs to be a city that promotes education, awareness, and spirituality, and discourages ignorance, hate, and Catholicism.
  • Dickinson needs to be a city that encourages women to be beautiful and friendly, and discourages women from being ugly, glaring, and scowling.
  • Dickinson might need to have a strip bar, just so men can see what women are supposed to look like, maybe they have never seen one, or they have forgotten what they look like.
  • Dickinson needs to have a good Italian restaurant.

The Dickinson Mafia And Bank Owners In North Dakota

It has been a while since I have mentioned the Dickinson Mafia in one of my blog posts, probably more than a year.  There may come a time, when circumstance arise that may cause me to identify the members of the Dickinson Mafia by name, there are about eight of them.  But at this time, it would be more trouble than it is worth.

For the newcomers to Dickinson, the Dickinson Mafia are a group of business owners, land owners, and political office holders who try to control what goes on in Dickinson.  They tell themselves, and each other, that what they try to accomplish is good for Dickinson, but these things coincide with what benefits them.

A reader may think, so what, what is wrong with this, what is the problem?  I will give you a couple of examples.  One of the ways in which Dickinson is controlled, is by controlling who is hired.  Often times, hiring in Dickinson is not a matter of selecting the most experienced and qualified applicant.  Hiring involves selecting the applicant that has been selected ahead of time due arrangements being made on the basis of family connections, seeking to win favor with someone, promise of being compensated, threat of being punished, or outright being told to do so.

Another way in which Dickinson is controlled, which people learn when they live here, is by:  who gets stopped by the Police and who gets let go;  who moves forward with being criminally prosecuted and who has charges dropped;  who gets a long sentence and who gets a short sentence, or no sentence;  who gets a building permit and who does not;  who receives building code violations and who does not;  who receives a bank loan and who does not;  who keeps their job and who gets laid off;  who gets awarded contracts and who does not;  who gets good publicity in the newspaper and who does not.

Myself, and other people who live in Dickinson, would like to be treated fairly, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.  It is upsetting, when steps are taken to interfere with your being hired, your work, being stopped by the Police, attempted entrapment by the Police, or not being able to get a bank loan.

For the readers who still don’t know what I am talking about, you can read my previous blog posts titled “They Hide Jobs In Dickinson, North Dakota”, “The Disputed Termination Of David Armendariz”, “Not Being Paid By Employers In Dickinson”, “Being Stopped By The Police In Dickinson, North Dakota”,  “Almost Getting Caught By The Drug Task Force In Dickinson, North Dakota”, “Legal Entrapment Of Manish In Dickinson, North Dakota”.

In understanding Dickinson, it is like pealing back layers of an onion.  After studying things for a while, you may think that you understand Dickinson, but then you realize that there is another layer below what you have already found.

Here is one way to look at these layers of Dickinson:

The first thing that a newcomer to Dickinson will likely experience, is contact with their employer and the Police in Dickinson.  This is what is on the surface of Dickinson.  If you have any sense, you will quickly realize that you are better off saying very little to your employer, your co-workers, and the Police in Dickinson, because they are all trying to find fault with you, and something to charge you with.

The next layer down, the socialization in Dickinson, will be the people that you meet and interact with at grocery stores, retail stores, businesses, restaurants, bars, school, the West River Community Center, etc.  You may come to understand that the socialization in Dickinson is heavily influenced by the German, Ukranian, and Catholic ancestry of the local people.

The next layer down, the economy in Dickinson, you may find out about the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd oil booms in Dickinson, the history of the settlers and agriculture, the history of the poverty and wealth, the historical prices of land, success and failures of businesses and industries, coal mining, Uranium mining, etc.

The next layer you may come to in understanding Dickinson, is the Dickinson Mafia layer.  You may begin to learn about the influence and control of the Dickinson Mafia, what businesses they own, what they are involved in, who they are related to, what they are trying to accomplish.

Unfortunately for me, the next layer that I came to understand about Dickinson, is the crime and illegal drug activity.  Someone a little older than me, who moved to Dickinson twenty years ago said to me, “If everyone in Dickinson knew the truth about the crime and the illegal drug activity in Dickinson, 80% of the people would leave Dickinson.”  You would probably leave Dickinson, if you knew the truth about what is going on.

The furthest layer down, that I have seen, is the Bank owners in North Dakota.  They are invisible, they were invisible to me, until a couple of things made me realize that they were there.  This is funny, and embarrassing, because ultimately, they own everything, far surpassing anyone else or any entity in control and importance.

I read this factual statistic recently, and I have heard and seen this statistic about five times previously, that was uncovered by economists and financial experts, and reported by journalists:

1% of people…………..own or control 80% of the wealth in the U.S.

19% of people…………own or control 12% of the wealth in the U.S.

80% of people…………own or control 8% of the wealth in the U.S.

The two most important things to see, are that the top 1% wealthiest people own 80% of the wealth in the U.S., and that the vast majority of people, the bottom 80% own only 8% of the wealth in the U.S.

I had thought that the Dickinson Mafia control things in Dickinson.  It is true, that they try to control things in Dickinson.  But the Bank owners in North Dakota, have much more control.  However you don’t see, hear, or read very much about the Bank owners in North Dakota, and that is the way that they want it to be.

In Dickinson, there may be griping, complaining, debate, lobbying, protesting, and politicking over such things as:  the permitting of man-camps, people sleeping in their cars, shortage of housing, arrival of street gangs, drug trafficking, prostitution, new housing developments, new business developments, damaged roads, end of the oil boom, people leaving, low occupancy rates, fewer jobs, lower wages, Sears closing, JC Penny closing, Herbergers Closing, new refineries, etc.

Out-of-state workers have their opinions about what they want, which may not be the same as the opinions and what the local people want.  The Dickinson Mafia, have their opinion about what they want, which usually they are able to persuade the local people that this is what they want too, which inevitably is what gets done in Dickinson.

It appears to me, that the Bank owners in North Dakota, do not waste their time and energy paying attention to the daily, weekly, or monthly squabbles and goings on in Dickinson, as if they are of no consequence to them, though they are the biggest land and resource owners in western North Dakota.

I don’t know if the Bank owners figure that whatever gets decided, whichever way things go, either way they will make money.  Or, if when something matters to the Bank owners in North Dakota, when something affects them, that they decide to intervene.  If they do intervene, I have never seen, heard, or read about it.

Banks’ Role In The Coming Real Estate Collapse In Dickinson, North Dakota

In this blog post, I am going to explain the Banks’ role in the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I believe that the Banks will be 20% of the cause for the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson.

The price of oil dropping from over $100 per barrel down to $40 per barrel in late 2014 and early 2015 is what caused the oil boom to come to an end in North Dakota.  The oil companies did not want to pump oil out of the ground, perform exploration, and drill new oil wells if they could not make a profit.  The number of operating oil drill rigs in North Dakota went from over 250, down to less than 50.

About 70% to 80% of the oil field jobs went away in North Dakota after the end of the oil boom in 2015.  70% to 80% of the out-of-state workers returned to the states where they came from.  I believe that the end of the oil boom in North Dakota will be 30% of the cause of the real estate collapse in Dickinson, North Dakota.

What North Dakotans should realize, is that 20% of the cause of the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson, is how local people treated the out-of-state workers.  There are some things that North Dakotans never understood.  From 2007 through 2014, many areas in the United States were in a recession.  It wasn’t the prospering people with jobs who came to North Dakota during the oil boom, it was the people who were having financial difficulty or were completely broke.

The majority of people who came to North Dakota during the oil boom, they didn’t have very much money or any money, that is why they came in the first place.  When they got here, old one bedroom apartments that had recently been $300 per month, were now $1,500 per month.  Many people slept in their vehicles at Wal-Mart, Tiger Truck Stop, and Patterson Lake.  Many people slept in the bushes, under bridges, along the railroad right-of-way, and on canal banks in Dickinson.  There was no homeless shelter in Dickinson.

Stark County residents, politicians, business owners, and property owners did not want Man-Camps, temporary oil field housing, in Stark County, so they were not permitted.  These temporary portable housing units, could have been set up in a matter of months to alleviate the housing shortage in Dickinson.  It appeared that the end goal of the local people, was to force the out-of-state workers to have to rent, lease, or purchase the existing locally owned housing, or new housing that they would build.

The new apartments that were built in Dickinson, they rented for $2,000 to $3,000 per month.  That’s $24,000 to $36,000 per year in rent, that wasn’t even for something they would own, that money was just gone.  All of the out-of-state workers felt like they were being gouged.  The cost of rent, and the way that the out-of-state workers were treated by the local people, the local company owners, the local co-workers, the local Police, made the out-of-state workers make up their minds that they would leave North Dakota, and always think badly of North Dakota.

Another way to put it, is like this, thousands of out-of-state workers who left where they came from because they were making little or no money, would have willingly made North Dakota their permanent home, if they would not have been gouged so bad on housing, and been treated with hostility by local people.  The funny thing is, the desire of the property owners to make a killing in a hurry, is one of the primary reasons why there is going to be a real estate collapse in Dickinson, they drove everyone away.

Something else that is funny, is that because Stark County did not permit Man-Camps, temporary oil field housing units, and instead wanted there to be construction of new apartment buildings, town homes, and houses, the occupancy rates at the new apartment buildings and old apartment buildings is now about 50%.

If Stark County would have permitted temporary Man-Camps to operate for three years, and then not renewed their permits when the oil boom was over, the occupancy rates at apartment buildings in Dickinson might now be at 80%, with higher rents, and a higher demand for houses.  I am going to put 20% of the cause of the coming real estate collapse in Dickson on the refusal to permit temporary Man-Camps in Stark County, which has led to an over supply of apartments, town homes, and houses in Dickinson.

So far, I have listed the causes of the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson as:  30% end of oil boom;  20% gouging and mistreatment of out-of-state workers which drove them out of North Dakota;  20% denial of temporary Man-Camps which resulted in an over supply of apartments, town homes, and houses.

I began this blog post by stating that 20% of the cause of the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson will be the Banks.  The Bank owners know that the oil boom has ended, that 70% to 80% of the oil field jobs have gone away, that 70% to 80% of the out-of-state workers have returned to the states where they came from, that there is an over supply of housing in Dickinson, and that the occupancy rates at the new apartment buildings, and the old apartment buildings is now at about 50%.

Despite what the Chambers of Commerce, politicians, business owners, real estate agents, real estate developers, property owners, and other spokespeople say, or what newspapers, trade journals, and magazines write about the oil boom coming back, or the local economy growing, the Bank owners have a different view, which they aren’t openly sharing.

In my previous blog post, I wrote about my recent experience, and my two neighbors’ recent experience in trying to obtain a home loan with local banks in Dickinson.  Even though my two neighbors could demonstrate the required income level, income history, and a stable job history in Dickinson, they were still turned down for a home loan.

In other parts of the country, myself and my two neighbors would have been given a home loan based on income level, credit history, and purchase price of the home.  What is different about Dickinson, is that there is an over supply of housing, and Dickinson is just coming down from an oil boom.

The owners of the local banks in Dickinson, in my case for instance, where several local banks told me that they were instructed to not loan money on any manufactured home no matter how much land was involved, no matter what, indicates to me that the local bank owners expect to be facing a great deal of home loan foreclosures.

Getting to the point, if you don’t already see it for yourself, is that if the local bank owners in Dickinson don’t want to grant many or any home loans, what do you think that this will do to the real estate market?  Who is going to be able to sell their $100k, $200k, $300k, $400k home in Dickinson, if no bank will grant a home loan to a buyer?

Will it matter if your home is appraised at $200k or $300k, if no one can buy it?

End of oil boom, 70% to 80% of out-of-state workers leaving, over supply of housing and occupancy rates of 50%, and Bank owners not wanting to grant home loans, what do you think is going to happen to the price of housing in Dickinson?

Suspicious Behavior Of Bank Lending In Dickinson, North Dakota

This is going to be a quick blog post about suspicious behavior of bank lending in Dickinson, North Dakota.  Actually, it’s about banks not lending money.

I own a home that is paid for in Idaho, and I would like to be able to return and live there.  In the past seven years, I have worked some in Utah and Texas, but for about five of these years I have worked in North Dakota.

After the oil boom went away in North Dakota in 2015, since then about 70% to 80% of the oil field jobs went away.  Consequently, 70% to 80% of the out-of-state oil field workers returned to the states where they came from.

By 2017, the occupancy rates at the newly completed apartment buildings and the old apartment buildings in Dickinson became 50% or less.  Apartment rent, home rent, and home sale prices began to decrease throughout Dickinson.

In the summer of 2017, I got a very good deal on an apartment in downtown Dickinson.  However, I soon came to find that the crime in this area of downtown Dickinson was very bad primarily due to drug dealing, people being on drugs, and people stealing to get money for drugs.

In the Spring of 2018, mostly because I was tired of the drug dealing and drug activity at the apartment building where I live in downtown Dickinson, I began looking for a very cheap home to purchase.  I found a manufactured home on its own property for sale in Belfield for $25,000.

This 3br/1ba manufactured home in Belfield on its owned 75 ft x 140 ft lot would have been good for me.  I went and looked at it with the realtor, and it was fine with me.  So far, neither myself or about thirty other prospective buyers, have been able to get a loan from any bank in North Dakota for this manufactured home.

For myself and all of the other prospective buyers who looked at this $25,000 manufactured home, the combined payments for the loan, home insurance, and property tax, would have been less than rent payments anywhere in western North Dakota.

The four or five banks that I spoke to or went to in Dickinson, they each had their reasons for not wanting to loan money on a manufactured home at this time.  It wasn’t a matter of credit history or income, the local banks in Dickinson didn’t even want to initiate a loan application for a manufactured home, even on owned land.

For this particular case, I got the impression that each of the local banks in Dickinson that I went to, that someone much higher up, the bank owners, were scared to death of being stuck owning manufactured homes.

From 2009 through 2014 during the oil boom, the rent on this 3br/1ba manufactured home would have been about $2,000 per month.  Back then, just one year of rent would have been $24,000.  Now, the rent on this manufactured home would be about $500 per month, or $6,000 per year.  So why are the banks so scared of loaning money on something like this, on a 75 ft. x 140 ft. lot?

As a second example, one of my neighbors who lives in the same apartment building as me in downtown Dickinson, this couple wanted to buy a house not far from here, in order to get away from the drug dealing and drug activity in this building.  Even though this man has had a good paying job for the past four years with the same company in Dickinson, he was turned downed for his home loan.

As a third example, another one of my neighbors, who owes about $19,000 on his current small home in downtown Dickinson, he wanted to buy another nearby home that was larger.  He wanted to move into the larger home, and rent out his smaller home that was nearly paid for.  He has had a fairly good paying job with the same company in Dickinson for the past eight years, and he was turned down for his home loan.

For the past twenty years in the United States, banks have routinely lent money to people to buy homes that they could not afford.  These loans were called “liar loans”, because the borrower could not demonstrate their ability to pay without lying about their income, sources of income, money in savings, assets, and debts.

In the three examples that I gave up above about myself and my neighbors attempting to borrow money from a bank in Dickinson, North Dakota to buy a home, it wasn’t that the borrower did not have the income to make the mortgage payments, or the income history.

It seems like the banks are just scared to loan money for a home purchase in Dickinson at this time, in any case.  To me, this signifies two beliefs by the local bank owners.  One, that they expect many people to lose their jobs in Dickinson in the near future and be unable to make their mortgage payments.  And two, that the bank owners don’t want to be stuck owning homes in Dickinson when people default on their home loans, because homes will be worth less and less, with no one wanting them or being able to buy them.

In other words, I think that this shows that the owners of the banks in Dickinson, think that Dickinson is going to fail and collapse.  Actions speak louder than words, watch what a person does, not what he says.

Why Dickinson, North Dakota Is So Quiet Tonight

When I got home to my apartment in downtown Dickinson, North Dakota at 6:30 p.m., on this Monday, June 18, everything was very quiet.  I opened all of the windows in my apartment, turned on my computer, checked my e-mails, looked at my Worpress blog, looked at Facebook, read the Dickinson Press Newspaper online, and everything continued to be quiet in my apartment building, the parking lot, and this downtown residential area.

I fell asleep in my lazy boy recliner chair from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and I am just now waking up.  This residential area is so quiet right now, that I can hear that there is not a single car driving on the main downtown street through Dickinson, Villard Street.  Either directly on four-lane Villard Street, or one block north of Villard Street, there are twelve bars and restaurants, and about eight gas station convenience stores.

I am listening and trying to time it, and I am not hearing even one vehicle per five minutes on Villard Street.  I have heard one car in the past fifteen minutes.  Can you imagine how quiet that is, one car in fifteen minutes on the main street through downtown, at 11:30 p.m. on a Monday night?

I know why Dickinson is this quiet, it is a combination of about four different things.  I read a newspaper article about a month ago, that said the population of North Dakota decreased from 2017 to 2018, there was a net out-migration of about 500 people.  The total population of North Dakota is only about 750,000 people.

Despite what the business owners, real estate agents, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, business associations, elected representatives, and spokespeople say, the economy in western North Dakota has been slowing down since 2015, and it continues to do so.

In the Spring of 2018, there were newspaper articles and advertisements, radio announcements and advertisements, television reports and advertisements, trade journal articles and advertisements, telling people about the great need for workers in western North Dakota.  The truth is, that all of these reports and advertisements about the need for workers in western North Dakota, did not match the reality of the actual number of job openings posted on North Dakota Job Services, the Dickinson Press newspaper, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Indeed.com, LinkedIn.com, etcetera.

Yes, there was a need every week for a few CDL licensed drivers, experienced heavy equipment mechanics, electricians, experienced hydraulic fracturing operators, and laborers, but just a few, not a huge amount.  Many of these job openings did not represent company growth or an expansion in business operations, but were job vacancies created by workers who quit and left North Dakota.

The truth is, that workers who are already living here or who come here, who can prove that they have experience welding, fabricating, operating heavy equipment, operating fracturing equipment, working on a drill rig, with a CDL license, or are a certified mechanic, they can probably find a job if they are in good health and have a clean driving record.  But there is not a huge demand for workers.

I know experienced oil field workers living here in western North Dakota who have had difficulty in finding a job, and the jobs that they eventually accept are lower pay, sometimes much lower, than what they used to get paid.  I know people over 50 years of age who have work experience in the oil field and in construction, who have a lot of difficulty in finding a job in western North Dakota.

In the past several years, I have seen many people with some college education, business experience, technical experience, construction experience, and oil field experience, decide to leave North Dakota, because of the combination of not very high pay, poor working conditions, cold weather, and overall unpleasant environment here.  The people who have remained here in Dickinson after the oil boom ended in 2015, are mostly blue-collar trades people.

As I previously stated up above, there was an attempt this Spring by business owners, real estate agents, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, and government spokespeople, to entice and lure people here to North Dakota using announcements, news stories, and advertisements.  Most of the people who responded to this and came to western North Dakota, were no-skilled, low-skilled, inexperienced, poor, uneducated, illegal drug users from cities in Washington State and California.

Initially, in this Spring of 2018 in downtown Dickinson, it was noisy and chaotic.  The poor white-trash and poor blacks who recently arrived from the inner-cities of Washington State and California ran around and got into everything like insects that had recently hatched.  In expectation of getting a high paying oil field job, these no-skilled, low-skilled uneducated inner-city people rented apartments, and behaved like they did where they came from.

These new arrivals from the inner-cities continued to use illegal drugs, sell illegal drugs, get high, get drunk, and drive recklessly around Dickinson.  Little by little, bit by bit, the Dickinson Police arrested these new arrivals for possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, and DUI.

Once these no-skilled, low-skilled, uneducated inner-city people with criminal records and bad driving records found that they were unable to get a job working in the oil field, they began doing what they did in the inner-cities where they came from, sell drugs, steal, commit burglaries, and robberies.

Little by little, bit by bit, these inner-city people who arrived in Dickinson, most of them have either been stopped by the Dickinson Police multiple times, or they have been arrested.  They are in jail awaiting trial, have posted bail and have fled the state, have calmed down because they don’t want to get stopped by the Police anymore, or they have moved away because of the Police and they can’t get a job.

What is very funny to me, is at the apartment building where I live in downtown Dickinson tonight, it is so quiet, such a contrast to the months of April, May, and the beginning of June.  There is no one driving recklessly through the residential streets, there is no vehicle in the apartment building parking lot playing ghetto music, there is no one stopping by the apartment building to buy illegal drugs, there are no drug addicts wandering through the parking lot or the hallways.

The people all throughout this downtown neighborhood tonight, they have got their jobs to go to in the morning, they were all in for the night by 7:00 p.m., they had dinner, watched television, and went to bed.  The people from Washington State and California, are mostly back where they came from, or locked in their jail cell.

Lies About Dickinson, Lies About Real Estate, And Banks Betting Against Dickinson

About one week ago, I wrote a blog post about all of the crime and drug dealing at the apartment building where I live in downtown Dickinson almost causing me to move.  I don’t want to live here, I would like to get out, but I don’t think that I could escape the drug problem by moving to a more expensive apartment building in Dickinson, the occupancy rates are so low at the new apartment buildings, that they will rent to anyone.

This past week, I began looking at the real estate multiple listings for properties in this area, and I found one that was very low priced in Belfield, North Dakota, which is 24 miles west of Dickinson.

This property, which I will give the details of below, was perfectly fine with me, though many people would not find it appealing.  You have to keep in mind, that my first year in Dickinson back in 2011 during the oil boom, I slept in a 1978 truck bed camper, and I took showers at the company where I worked, or at the Tiger Truck stop.  My second year back in Dickinson in 2013, I slept in an enclosed utility trailer that was 7 ft x 14 ft, with no water and no sewer connections.  In 2011 and 2013, I was very cold when the temperature was below 0 degrees Fahrenheit outside, while trying to live in a camper with one electric heater.

The property that I saw in the Dickinson real estate multiple listing guide last week that interested me, was a 3 br, 1 ba, 1,000 square foot manufactured home on a 75 ft x 140 ft owned lot, for $25,000.  According to the website Realtor.com, for a 30 year mortgage at 6% apr, the combined monthly payment for the mortgage, property tax, and insurance would be $106 per month, total.

Because I can’t park my equipment trailers and some of my vehicles at the apartment where I live now, my combined storage and rent payment is $500 per month.  Which is better, $500 per month to live in an apartment building with drug dealers and crime, or $106 per month to live in your own home, on your own land?

$25,000 is pretty cheap for a 3 br, 1 ba home on its own lot, for this area, or for any area.  From 2009 to 2015 during the oil boom, the rent for this manufactured home would have been $2,000 per month, which equals $24,000 per year.

I went and looked at this manufactured home, inside and out, on Friday of last week, and I took a video of it which I will show below.  I liked this manufactured home, it was fine with me, the yard, the outside, and the inside.  On the good side, it is fully furnished, and all of the furniture, washer and dryer come with it.  On the bad side, the roofing shingles on the south side are cupped, and will have to be replaced.  A new roof will cost about $5,000.

The real estate agent was pleasant and professional.  He told me that the property had been purchased by a company that needed to provide a place for three workers to live, but now that this company no longer does business in North Dakota, they just want to sell this property.  Other prospective buyers had offered to make a large cash down payment, and make monthly payments to the property owner, but all of these offers were declined.  The company wants to receive complete payment at one time, and be done.

A little over a year ago, I received a mortgage application package to complete from Dakota Community Bank where I have an account.  When I spoke to the loan officer again at Dakota Community Bank on this past Friday, she said that Dakota Community Bank will no longer lend money on any manufactured home whatsoever, no matter how new it is, or how much owned land is involved.  Later I had a short discussion about a personal loan using my vehicles as collateral, but most of these vehicles are not in North Dakota, and their value would be assessed at wholesale trade-in value, which is nothing.

I talked to someone at ENG Lending in Dickinson, and their policy is that they will loan money on a new manufactured home at the dealer, but not on a used manufactured home.  I spoke to a loan officer at Gate City Bank in Dickinson, and they said that they looked up this property, and would not loan money on this property because the area that it was in was zoned commercial.  I suspect that Gate City Bank was just looking for a reason to excuse themselves from lending on an older manufactured home.

I was told that I would have a high likelihood of getting a loan from the bank in Belfield where the home is located, Choice Financial.  I went to Choice Financial Bank on Friday last week, discussed this with loan officers, but they have not called me back.  I don’t think that they can do anything with an older manufactured home either.

In a way, this whole process was funny and unbelievable to me.  All throughout Dickinson, all of the business owners, real estate agents, property managers, property investors, business people, financial people, and bankers, like to talk and make announcements about how the economy in Dickinson is booming, growing, expanding, and taking off.   Yet all of the bank owners have so little faith in the economy in Dickinson, that they have issued instructions that no loans are to be made on manufactured homes even if they are on owned land.

The other thing that is kind of funny and absurd to me, is that this property is not 3 times my annual income, not 2 times my annual income, but ½ of my annual income.  In many parts of the U.S., people are getting home loans, where the cost of the home is 3 to 4 times the person’s annual income.  Yet in Dickinson, I can’t get a loan to buy a home on owned land, that is ½ of my annual income.  Or, I could probably be approved to buy a new car in Dickinson for $35,000, a car, whereas I can not get a loan for a lesser amount, for a 3 br, 1 ba home, where I would live, for less money than I have been paying for rent the past four years.

I could put the whole $25,000 purchase on my credit cards, I receive credit card checks that I can use just like a regular check with no discount to the recipient.  But my interest rate would be 18%, which is about $4,500 per year in interest alone.  Why would I want to pay about $375 per month, just in interest?

I discussed with the real estate agent, making a cash offer for $18,000.  The real estate agent said that this proposal had already been made to the property owner, he refused, he will accept nothing less than $25,000.

The real estate agent, each of the bank loan officers, the other bank personnel, and the Stark County personnel that I spoke to in the past several days, were all pleasant, polite, and professional.  I like this manufactured home, it is fine with me, I can afford it, I don’t mind paying the asking price, and I don’t mind living in Belfield.  I just could not get financing.

There were many other people who also wanted to buy this manufactured home, on its own 75 ft x 140 ft lot.  The loan payments on this property, would be lower than just about anything you could rent in this area, even lower than the rent on an old studio apartment.  However, no one could get a loan, the owner would not accept a large down payment and finance it, nor would the owner accept cash payment for a lesser amount.

I got a lot of insight from this.  No matter what the talk is on the street, in the newspapers, and on television about how well the economy in Dickinson is doing, the people with money, the people who know what is really going on, are not about to loan money on manufactured homes, even manufactured homes on owned land, for at least three reasons.

One, they expect the economy in Dickinson to decline, people to continue to lose their jobs, and they expect people to default on their home loans.  Two, with the economy in Dickinson declining, and people defaulting on their home loans, who are they going to get to buy a foreclosed manufactured home, or who are they going to get to rent a foreclosed manufactured home?  Three, with the economy in Dickinson declining, wealthy people and bank owners do not want to be stuck owning multiple manufactured home properties that people have defaulted on, these things will be worth pennies on the dollar there are going to be so many vacancies in Dickinson.

Think about this, on the other hand, if the bank owners and the people with money in Dickinson, truly believed that the economy in Dickinson was expanding, they would not hesitate to make loans on manufactured homes on owned land, for at least three reasons.

One, with more job openings expected in Dickinson, people would not be losing their jobs and defaulting on their home loans.  Two, so what if someone defaulted on their home loan while the economy was growing, it would be easy to find someone else to buy or rent a foreclosed manufactured home.  Three, so what if someone defaulted on their manufactured home loan when the economy was expanding, the value of manufactured homes on owned property would be going up and up, who wouldn’t want to own assets that are appreciating in value?

At this point, I don’t care, I am done trying to work this purchase out.  I will just sit back and watch this manufactured home not sell, and continue to decline in value.  I don’t care if someone else finds a way to purchase this home, to live in, or to own this home as an investment and rent it out.  I have nothing against this home, I like it, but it will need a new roof soon.  Here is the video, if you want to make an offer on this home, just look on any real estate site for Belfield, North Dakota.

Do Not Get Over Excited About Moving To North Dakota In 2018

In the past several years, I have written many blog posts where I try to get the information out there, that there are false rumors and misinformation being spread about the need for workers in North Dakota, in order to lure people here.

Business people in North Dakota habitually try to talk up the economy, making broad exaggerations, making things up, and sometimes lying.  Business people, politicians, news media, and ordinary citizens, repeat back to each other, what they have heard, but very few people hardly ever take the time to see if what they are saying is true.

It is so frustrating to me, the reality of what is going on in Dickinson, North Dakota, versus what people in Dickinson are saying and talking about.

Since the oil boom ended in North Dakota in 2015, I have seen a net decrease in the amount of businesses in Dickinson, a net decrease in the number of residents, an increase in homes for sale, an increase in apartments for rent, an increase in trailer park vacancies, an increase in vacancies in commercial and retail buildings, real estate prices have gone down, people have been unable to sell their homes, rent prices have gone down, and there are fewer job advertisements.

Just a few highlights are, Delta airlines ceased operations at the Dickinson airport due to lack of customers and lack of profitability, and United airlines tried to cease operations at the Dickinson airport due to lack of customers and lack of profitability.  The government prevented United airlines from leaving the Dickinson airport due to an “essential air services” rule.

Sears has closed, JC Penny has closed, Herbergers department store is closing soon, and the Prairie Hills mall has recently been sold.  The two largest stores in the Prairie Hills mall were JC Penny and Herbergers.  For the stores like Sears, JC Penny, Herbergers, Hobby Artz, and Radio Shack that have closed, there have not been any new or different stores to open to replace these stores.

A few other businesses that have closed in Dickinson were Total Workforce Solutions staffing company, Evolution Gym, Pita Pit restaurant, Wildcat Pizza, several small business in the downtown business district, and more than several local construction and contracting companies.  The Elks Lodge was forced to downsize, they sold the upstairs to their own building, and moved into the basement of their building.

Even though the population of Dickinson has decreased, many businesses have closed and not been replaced by new or different businesses, many local companies have closed and not been replaced by new or different companies, there are many vacancies in residential and commercial properties, and there are fewer job advertisement listings, the people in Dickinson walk around talking about how things are taking off.

I looked at the North Dakota Job Services job listings for Dickinson today.  I counted about thirty-two job listings posted in the month of April so far up until today, April 23.  Of these thirty-two job listings for Dickinson, twelve of these job listings were for certified medical professionals like nurses, mammography technicians, and radiology technicians.  This leaves twenty non-medical job listings for the month of April in Dickinson.  Eight of these remaining jobs were low paying retail type jobs.

I then went and looked at the job listings for Dickinson, North Dakota on the website Indeed.com.  On Indeed.com, there were roughly twice as many job listings, as what North Dakota Job Services had.  There were roughly fifty to sixty job listings posted in the month of April so far, on Indeed.com.  Approximately ten of these jobs were low paying such as customer service, retail, and food service workers.  Approximately ten of these jobs were part time or seasonal.  Approximately ten of these jobs were sales type jobs where an applicant is led to believe that there is potential to earn good pay, but it never works out that way.  (You might not know what I mean about bullshit sales jobs unless you or your friends have done these jobs, where you never receive sales commissions.)

On Indeed.com, there were about fifteen jobs posted for Dickinson, North Dakota, in the month of April, that were good paying oil field, trades person, or professional type jobs.  However, these fifteen good paying jobs, required specialized experience, knowledge, or education, such as a commercial driver’s license, degree as an engineer or engineering technician, or being an experienced heavy equipment operator.

My point in writing this blog post, is not just to explain why I am annoyed that people in Dickinson persist in repeating information that is not true about things in Dickinson taking off, I want to explain that this luring people here by telling them that there is a huge need for workers, is going to cause problems and hardship for people.

As I explained about the job listings posted for the month of April on Indeed.com, there were about fifteen jobs that were good paying jobs, but they required specialized experience, knowledge, or education.  What are people in Dickinson trying to do, what are people in North Dakota trying to do, telling the world that there is a great need for workers, and high paying jobs, when this is not the case?

People are going to move to North Dakota, possibly bringing their families with them, because they heard about all of the jobs, and the high paying jobs.  When they get here, and can’t get a job, or can only get a low paying job, what is going to happen, what are they going to do, what are they supposed to do?  You don’t really care, or give a shit, do you?  You just like talking every day about how things are really booming in Dickinson.

Dickinson North Dakota Is In A Transition Period

It may be obvious to most of the people who are living here, that Dickinson, North Dakota is going through a transition period.  However, people who live elsewhere in the United States have no way of knowing what is happening in Dickinson right now.

Dickinson, North Dakota experienced an Oil Boom that occurred from 2007 through 2014.  This was Dickinson’s third Oil Boom.  The first Oil Boom took place in the 1950s, and it was due to the discovery of oil in North Dakota.  The second Oil Boom occurred from approximately 1978 through 1983.  This third Oil Boom was due to advances in hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling technologies that allowed more profitable oil extraction in North Dakota.

What killed this third Oil Boom in North Dakota, was the price of oil dropping from over $100 per barrel down to $40 per barrel.  When the price of oil was over $80 per barrel, it was profitable for oil companies to perform exploration, lease oil well sites, drill, and produce oil.  When the price of oil was down around $40 per barrel, oil companies didn’t even want to pump very much of this oil out of the ground because they wouldn’t be making any profit from it.

Supposed reasons for the price of oil going from over $100 per barrel down to $40 per barrel, were over-production and over-supply in the U.S.  It is more likely that the over-supply of oil and the price drop was due to intentional flooding of the oil market by OPEC producers in the Middle East.

The number of operating drill rigs in North Dakota went from over 200 during the Oil Boom, to less than 50 currently.  Many oil field jobs went away.  Less surveying, less road work, less site work, fencing, cattle guards, containment barriers, tank batteries, water hauling, sand hauling, drilling, directional drilling, fracturing, casing, wireline, work over, pump jacks, automation, controls, tanks, pipelines, welding, mechanics, electricians, roustabouts, truck drivers, less everything.

By the end of 2016, I would say that 60% to 80% of the oil field jobs had gone away.  Most of the out-of-state workers returned to the states where they came from.  It was not just that most of the oil field workers lost their jobs, could not get a replacement job, or could not get a job with overtime hours like they used to have, it was that all of the oil field workers knew that they could not afford the cost housing in North Dakota, and it was not very pleasant living in North Dakota because it was cold, there was no where to go, nothing to do, and there was a shortage of women.

Even by the end of 2014, after many new large apartment complexes and new hotels had been constructed in Western North Dakota, the cost of housing was still very high.  In Dickinson, even up until the end of 2015, there was a large extended stay hotel on I-94 that had a banner advertisement on their building for rooms starting at $700 per week.

There was a lie going around the United States that everyone working in the oil field was making over $100,000 per year.  This was far from being true.  In the more than five years that I have lived here, I have only met three people who made more than $100,000 per year working in the oil field.

The $700 per week for the extended stay hotel room, most workers in Dickinson, who worked in retail, fast food, restaurants, or service industry, did not have a take home pay of $700 per week.  The semi-skilled workers, construction workers, laborers, and roustabouts, had a take home pay of about $700 per week after taxes.  This led to people sleeping in their cars at WalMart, sleeping in a tent in people’s backyards, and sleeping in the bushes where they could.  This is not an exaggeration, I know all about this, myself and my friends lived like this.

Some of the cheapest old one-bedroom apartments, if you could even find one, rented for $1,500 per month, with one month’s rent security deposit, first month’s rent, and last month’s rent due at lease signing, that’s $4,500 due up front.  Most of the workers who came to North Dakota did so out of economic desperation, and they didn’t have $4,500, which led to them sleeping in their cars at WalMart, the truck stop, etcetera.

I am re-telling all of this now, to paint the picture of why everyone who came to work in Western North Dakota during the Oil Boom, was so ready to leave when the Oil Boom was over.  It was not just about jobs going away, it was about how unpleasant and difficult it had been living in North Dakota.

The lie had been told that everyone working in the oil field was making over $100,000 per year, in order to lure an abundance of workers to Western North Dakota, most of whom would be paid less than $16 per hour.  These workers would fill the retail, fast food, restaurant, hospitality, and service worker jobs, but they would also fill every house, apartment, basement, cabin, trailer, hotel, and motel.

When the Oil Boom was over, all of the local people, the business owners and the property owners said, “Oh, it’s coming back.  Hold on now, it’s coming back.”  The kind of lying that got people from all over the U.S. to come to North Dakota looking for work, was now being done to try to keep everyone from leaving.  But the Oil Boom didn’t come back, it was over.

By 2017, the occupancy rates at the newly completed large apartment complexes and the old apartment buildings, was approximately 50% or less.  The occupancy rates at the RV parks, hotels, and motels, was approximately 20% or less.  Rents began to decrease quite a bit, as there became competition amongst property owners and property managers to get tenants into their buildings.  Home prices decreased also.

By 2016, some of the non-oil field businesses in Dickinson that I recall closing were, Wild Cat Pizza, Hobby Artz, Superior Laundry, The Pita Pit, and Evolution Fitness.  By the end of 2017, some additional businesses that closed were Sears, JC Penny, one Family Fare grocery store location, Total Workforce Solutions, and the Elks Lodge vacated the upstairs of their own building to move into their basement.

By 2016, some of the few restaurants in Dickinson that had previously been open 24 hours, ceased staying open past midnight.  For a time in 2016, all of the grocery stores and WalMart in Dickinson no longer stayed open 24 hours.  Now WalMart does stay open 24 hours most of the time.

In 2016, many local young people who had graduated from high school in Dickinson or Dickinson State University during the Oil Boom and found employment right away, now had to move out of state to find employment in Montanna, South Dakota, Colorado, and Arizona.

By 2016, many entrepreneurs who had moved to Dickinson to start a business or a service during the Oil Boom, began closing down in order to move away and start over again in another state.  By the end of 2017, there appeared to me to be another wave of entrepreneurs shutting down in Dickinson, to move away and start over elsewhere.

What inspired me to write this particular blog post about Dickinson going through a “Transition Period” right now, are two things.  Three of the most visible and active members of the Dickinson community, three entrepreneurs, have recently announced on Facebook that they are moving away.

For these three people, I thought that Dickinson was their life-long home, they were so entrenched in everything, and so active in everything.  It wasn’t until I read that they were leaving, and I then looked into everything that they were doing recently, that I realized that they had been trying to earn money doing several different jobs outside of what they normally do, in order to make money.  I didn’t know that they were struggling, because I wasn’t paying attention.

In 2016 and 2017, I had to work at several different jobs outside of my normal job, in order to make enough money.  Some of these jobs were physical labor jobs 12 hours per day, every day, for weeks.  Some of these jobs were physical labor jobs for 15 hours per day, with an additional 2 hours of drive time each day.  So I can understand that these three entrepreneurs were having a shortfall of money in Dickinson, because I have too, but I didn’t know that it had come to the point that they have to move away.

The second thing that inspired me to write this blog post about this “Transition Period” in Dickinson right now, is the theft and crime.  In 2017, in Dickinson, there has been so much theft, crime, and drug overdoses.

In Dickinson this past year, there has been a great deal of vehicle, trailer, equipment, and tool thefts, again, and again.  Thefts from businesses, homes, job sites, garages, and parked vehicles.  Dickinson had very little theft prior to the Oil Boom, and even during the Oil Boom up until 2016.  The theft in Dickinson now, is comparable to what goes on in a very bad neighborhood in Phoenix, Tampa, or Dallas.

There have been many drug overdoses in Dickinson this past year, with several fatalities.  I can’t remember hearing about this amount of drug overdoses and fatalities during the Oil Boom, or anywhere else that I have ever lived.

What I think that the correlation is, between everything that I have described in this blog post, is that so many jobs have gone away in Dickinson, that people have coped by moving away immediately, moving away after trying to wait, moving away after trying to work additional jobs, staying and continuing to work multiple jobs, and other people cope by stealing and using illegal drugs.

Very, Very Strange And Upsetting Feeling In Dickinson, North Dakota This Week

Even though things are going O.K. for me personally in Dickinson, North Dakota right now, I am sensing that something is very wrong in Dickinson.  It is like there is so much pain, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger, bad thoughts, and bad intentions, that I can’t help but feel that something is very wrong.

If a psychiatrist or psychologist would analyze my thoughts on this, they would likely say one of three things:  1)  You are projecting, inferring, or attributing your own thoughts and feelings onto other people;  2)  You are witnessing actual events and real happenings, mentally processing these facts, arriving at legitimate conclusions, and these conclusions are being presented to you as emotions or feelings rather than in words;  3)  Animals and people have a way of sensing and knowing things, that we can not explain.  Maybe #3 is something that a psychiatrist or psychologist would not say.

The older that I have become, the more I believe in listening to my inner voice.  Some people believe in God, Guardian Angels, Spirit Guides, or a Collective Consciousness.  I believe in each of these things to some extent, some times more than other times.  Perhaps one’s inner voice, is just a momentary conclusion based on one’s own lifetime of experiences.

The actual events and real happenings which I recall seeing and observing in Dickinson recently are:  The Dickinson Police having a heightened desire to arrest people, even if they have to make things up;  the Police having motorists pulled over on the road whenever I go out; the restaurants that I go to having very few customers;  the restaurant workers appearing and behaving in an angry, unhappy, unfriendly manner;  my neighbors appearing very stressed and unhappy;  some neighbors moving out in an unhappy manner and my apartment building becoming more vacant;  some of my friends being unable to find employment;  some of my friends having to sell their possessions and possibly their home in order to survive;  not one person that I know looking forward to or speaking about Thanksgiving or Christmas in a happy manner;  when I go shopping, the shoppers appear and act like poor worried people, none of them appear or act like successful confident people;  long lines at McDonalds drive-thru but few customers at other restaurants;  property theft in Dickinson becoming much more prevalent and common.

I had been looking forward for a couple of months to see who would be announced as the new Executive Director of the Downtown Dickinson Association.  I had hoped that a particular candidate that I liked would get the position, someone who I believe is a very positive, pleasant, well liked, up beat, and delightful person.  Instead, the Downtown Dickinson Association never made an announcement on which candidate was selected, and they just went ahead and re-advertised for the Executive Director position without any explanation.  I feel sorry for the people who applied, especially for the person that I like very much, who I hoped would be the new Executive Director.

I have just listed above many things that I recall seeing and observing in Dickinson this week.  It seems that this might be enough for me to get the feeling that there is pain, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger, bad thoughts, and bad intentions in Dickinson.  However, one of the strongest and most upsetting feelings or impressions that I am getting, is that people have the intention of victimizing others.

My warning to readers in Dickinson, is that I am getting the feeling that many people who have pain, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger, bad circumstances in their own life, bad thoughts, and bad intentions, would like to somehow victimize and try to bring down other people right now.  This is why I am trying to stay home, and not go anywhere.  It appears that many other people in Dickinson are also trying to stay home and not go anywhere currently.

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.

I Didn’t Realize That No One Knew, Or Everyone Forgot About What Happened In Dickinson, North Dakota

I have been writing about the hatred, hostility, unfriendliness, lack of cooperation, and usurious gouging that the local people in Dickinson treated the out of state workers with, but I didn’t realize that many people don’t know what I am talking about, or they have forgotten.  I must now re-tell what happened.

Having made one preliminary trip to Williston in May of 2011, where I had to sleep in my truck, I purchased a 1975-78 truck bed camper for $500, for my return to North Dakota.  When I arrived in Dickinson in mid-May of 2011, I slept in my truck bed camper in the Wal-Mart parking lot and in the Tiger Truck Stop parking lot for a few days.

Within a few days I was able to get a job with an oil field service company.  I was told that I could stay in my camper on the company property, but arrangements were being made to find a house trailer for me and two other new hires to live in, we would each have to pay some of the cost in rent.  Soon, my local Dickinson co-workers complained and protested so much about the company trying to find a house trailer for us new hires to live in, that the company withdrew the offer.  My other out of state co-worker was stuck sleeping in a small Chevy Astro van that he had borrowed from a relative.

In the evening after work, I would go to the Tiger Truck Stop to use the internet.  Soon, I began talking to the “regular customers” that I would see every evening.  It turned out, that most of these regular customers were sleeping in their vehicles at the truck stop.  Some people didn’t even have vehicles, they were sleeping on the ground way at the back of the parking lot.

When motorists on interstate I-94 would take the Tiger Truck Stop exit ramp, they would see campers and tents at the back of the truck stop parking lot.  This attracted other out of state workers to park there, and it caused local Dickinson residents to try to put an end to this.  The Tiger Truck Stop received many complaints about people staying in their parking lot.  Some local Dickinson residents went so far as to make formal complaints with the City of Dickinson.  The City then informed the Tiger Truck Stop that they were not licensed as a “camp ground” and could not allow people to stay there over night.  The Tiger Truck Stop staff had to inform people every night that they could not stay there in a trailer or camp there.

The Tiger Truck Stop had not seen the harm in allowing people who didn’t know where to go and what to do, the chance to park and find out if they could get a job and a if they could find a place to live.  There was no homeless shelter in Dickinson.  The local Dickinson residents who complained, did so out of maliciousness because this was a completely industrial area, and these people weren’t hurting anything.

Other places that the out of state workers slept at night in their vehicles, on the ground, or in the bushes were:  Wal-Mart parking lot, Patterson Lake, T-Rex Mall parking lot, under bridges over the Heart River, the deep wooded ditch behind Kentucky Fried Chicken, vacant lot behind the Grand Dakota Lodge, DSU Agricultural Research Center woods, Dickinson Trap & Skeet Club woods, Enchanted Highway metal sculptures, I-94 rest areas, storage units, industrial areas, and construction sites.

I estimate that on any night, there were 300 to 400 homeless workers in Dickinson.  About 90% of them were currently employed.  For most of these homeless workers, the cost of a motel room in Dickinson per week, was more money than they would take home in a week.  The least expensive old one bedroom apartments in Dickinson were $1,500 per month, with $1,500 deposit, if you could even find one that was available.  Most out of state workers came to North Dakota because they were having financial difficulty where they came from, they didn’t have $3,000 to get into an apartment.

I called all of the RV Parks in Dickinson, none of them would allow trailers or motor homes that were older than ten years old.  Lot rents were about $700 per month, plus utilities.  Many out of state workers thought that they were going to be O.K. with their older motor home, truck bed camper, or trailer that they brought with them, but instead they found that the trailer parks would not allow them, and that the local Dickinson residents hated them.

The local Dickinson residents had this scheme, that they were going to fleece the out of state workers in every way possible, to the greatest extent possible.  The local people in Dickinson did not want there to be enough housing.  The local people wanted there to be a scarcity of housing, so that housing prices would double, triple, and quadruple, which they did.  When the City of Dickinson and Stark County had to review permit applications for “Man Camps” which would have helped to alleviate the housing shortage, the local Dickinson residents protested so strongly, that they were not allowed.

The local Dickinson residents then proceeded to rent tents or camper spaces in their backyards for $700 per month, until the City of Dickinson later had to pass an ordinance against this.

In the evenings after work in Dickinson, I met many normal workers from out of state who had a home, a wife, and children back where they came from.  I would pass the time with them in the evening, while they waited until it was dark enough and late enough to go back to a construction site to sleep, industrial area, or parking lot, wherever they had to hide at night.  All of the homeless out of state workers had to hide at night, because the local Dickinson residents didn’t like the “oil field trash” getting away with not paying them $700 per month to sleep in their backyard, or $1,500 per month for their garage apartment.

The local people in Dickinson absolutely did not want there to be a homeless shelter because this would have meant more people getting away with not paying them.

In my previous blog post I wrote that soon it will be unnecessary for me to write about and criticize Dickinson for what it has done.  There is going to be an economic collapse in Dickinson, where all of the gouging and scheming local residents will get their just rewards for what they have done.  The local Dickinson residents mistreated the out of state workers who came here after facing an economic collapse where they came from.  Now the Dickinson residents can experience the exact same thing, losing their jobs, not being able to pay their bills, losing their possessions and their homes, having to go to a different state where they have never been and don’t know anyone, with not enough money to pay for a place to stay.

Will I Ever Be Done Criticizing Dickinson, North Dakota?

Will I ever be done criticizing Dickinson, North Dakota?  Yes, I see an end to this.  I think that I see how everything is going to unfold, play out, and finish up in Dickinson.  I never could have planned and orchestrated life making such a complete, perfect, and just full circle.

I had a home and everything that I ever wanted in Idaho.  But the economy in Idaho kept getting worse and worse.  If I didn’t do something, I would go broke, and lose everything that I had.  I heard about the oil boom in North Dakota, so that is where I went in May of 2011.

I had never been to North Dakota, and I didn’t know anyone in North Dakota.  When I got to North Dakota, I slept in my vehicle.  There was no affordable place to stay.  Even though I had a degree in engineering and had worked in many types of construction as an engineer, estimator, inspector, superintendent, and project manager, the North Dakota employers treated me as if I didn’t know anything, though they relied on me to do work at a much higher level than they treated me.

It has been difficult and unpleasant living in Dickinson.  I have written about it.  The lack of affordable housing, there being nothing to do, the shortage of women, the scarcity of attractive women, the hostility, hatred, unfriendliness, and lack of cooperation from the local people.  But I will be able to quit writing about all of this soon.

There is an economic collapse that is going to happen in Dickinson, that is just now beginning.  Every unkind thing that the people in Dickinson did, is going to come back on them.  What they derided the out of state workers for, they will now experience fully for themselves.

In Dickinson, local people will begin to lose their jobs.  Local people “who didn’t do anything wrong and don’t deserve this” will not be able to pay for their vehicles, their homes, and their necessities.  The local people in Dickinson made fun of and mistreated the out of state workers who came here after losing everything, now the local people will have a chance to experience losing everything themselves.

I won’t have to write about it.  The local people in Dickinson will live every day in uncertainty, with anxiety, fear, and worry.  It will be difficult to pay bills, and then they won’t be able to pay bills at all.  For the able-bodied, it will come to the point where they pack what they can into a vehicle and head for some place like Denver, Oklahoma City, or Salt Lake City, without enough money or barely enough money to make it there.  Not knowing anyone where they are going, with no money, and no place to stay.  When they are sleeping in their cars in the below freezing weather, maybe they will remember how the local people in Dickinson treated the out of state workers who came to Dickinson.

The majority of the absolutely broke local people won’t leave Dickinson because that’s just the way they are, unable and unwilling to change, adapt, or adjust.  They won’t understand and refuse to understand no matter how many times the Sheriff deputy explains that they are being evicted and have to leave their home.  The local people who have been evicted from their homes will be packed shoulder to shoulder in the basements of the Catholic Churches.

One of the final, final pieces of justice for the local Dickinson people who are packed shoulder to shoulder in the basements of the Catholic Churches, with one toilet, will be that the local people in Dickinson refused to build a homeless shelter.  Millions and millions of dollars have been paid to Catholic Church in Dickinson through tithes, offerings, and bequests but no one wanted to build a homeless shelter.  In the end, the homeless people who will suffer the most in wretched filth, stench, and squalor will be the local people.