Tag Archives: economy in Dickinson North Dakota

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.
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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.