Workampers Wonder Where to Park RV If New Law is Passed
The result of a proposed city ordinance introduced at a meeting Wednesday night (April 11) in City Hall in Williston, N.D., reverberated through many residents of this northwest North Dakota city the next day.
The ordinance will prohibit parking of inhabited recreational vehicles within the city. Many residents and workers in Williston still rely on living in travel trailers or motorhomes, and are confused on where they should go if the ordinance is passed.
“I’d have to stay in town, somehow. I guess I’d go back to living in my car,” Allen Farrell, who lives in a camper and works at a local oil company, told the. “There’s no work back in Washington, and I’ve got three kids back there to support.”
Others living RVs around town had similar sentiments.
“I understand that there is a lot going on here and a lot of money to be made, but some of us don’t make that kind of money. I’ll just have to pull the plug and go home,” said Rod Cruz, an employee of Miller Insulation and a native of Montana.
The occupations and situations of the residents of the RVs and campers may vary, but all were concerned about the proposed ordinance and Williston’s ongoing housing crisis.
Vincy Smith, a 66-year-old Vietnam veteran who is employed at O.K. Fuel and has traveled to Williston from Tennessee to be near his daughter and grandkids, said he will be forced to move elsewhere if the ordinance passes.
“Look around Williston, is there any place to live? No, there’s no houses. People come here to work and there’s no place for them to live,” Smith said. “They really ought to give some consideration to these working people.”
Frustrations on this issue are high, and at the moment there may not be an easy solution. The Williston City Commission is proposing the new law as a way to protect the community due to sanitary reasons. On the flip side, many outsiders are trying become part of the community as housing continues to be a major thorn in the city’s side.
One woman who is employed and living in a camper looked at the proposal with sadness and resignation.
“I don’t know where they think people are going to live at?” she said, requesting she not be identified. “If they could get some housing up here for us, we wouldn’t live in an RV. We don’t want to live in an RV, but we want to work.”