Campgrounds Become Home for Oil Workers

September 7, 2010 by   - () Comments Off on Campgrounds Become Home for Oil Workers

Another campground in southeast North Dakota has been inundated with newly arrived job seekers who have nowhere else to live, the Jamestown Sun reported.

The American Legion campground southeast of Williston has about 30 people living in RVs and tents, said caretaker Bill Richardson of Williston.

The entities responsible for the land, the American Legion and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, aren’t pushing regulations because of the housing shortage in Williston, he said.

“At this point, there’s nowhere for anyone to live,” Richardson said.

The campground is primitive with the exception of electricity; it also offers well water and toilets.

People are asked to pay the equivalent of what they use in electricity, whether it be to charge their cell phones or run air conditioning, Richardson said.

Ashley Lee lives at the campground with her husband and two sons. They moved here a week ago from Minnesota for the same reason many have flocked to the area: for work. He works in the oil field, she said.

They are seeking a more permanent place to live, although they are concerned about how expensive renting and buying in Williston has become. Winter is on its way, and that’s another worry she has.

“It’s gonna start getting cold,” Lee said.

Scott Krenz moved here from Wisconsin about a month ago; he heard from a friend who moved here first about the availability of jobs. He also heard from that friend he would have to bring a camper, because there’s no place to live.

“I’d rather not be in a camper,” he said. But so far, Krenz has enjoyed living at the campground. There, his chocolate Labrador retriever, Sassy, has room to run around and can play in the nearby river, Krenz said.

He’s not sure what he’ll do when it gets cold, but he is eyeing year-round campgrounds.

“I’ll move to a different campground at worst,” he said.

Like Krenz, Jeff Cline also moved to the area from Wisconsin and has lived at the campground for three months.

“Back home, I was about to lose everything, so I came out here,” he said.

The approaching winter doesn’t phase Cline; he said he sleeps in the sleeper of the semi he drives for work most of the time.

“I’m more worried about the people down there with families,” he said, motioning toward Lee and her children who were several yards away at the pavilion.

“I know I can take care of myself,” Cline said.


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