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Target Logistics, Williston Lodge North, North Dakota. (Image courtesy of Target Logistics)

Williston moves closer to banning crew camps in city limits

WILLISTON, N.D. — City commissioners in Williston have given initial approval to an ordinance that would eliminate oil field crew camps within city limits next year, even though oil companies saying there remains a need for temporary worker housing despite the oil slowdown.

Commissioners on Tuesday voted 3-2 to set a July 1 deadline for crew camps to close, The Williston Herald reported. A final vote will come later.

Some people believe crew camps are unsightly and feed crime problems in the city. They also say a multimillion dollar expansion of apartments and hotels in Williston has eased a housing crunch. A recent report from a consultant concluded that if all crew camps in the city and surrounding Williams County were to close, there would still be a surplus of nearly 1,300 apartments and hotel beds in Williston.

John Sessions, who has invested in apartments in the city, said rents have fallen by half as activity in the oil patch has slowed due to slumping crude prices. There are also fewer renters, which he said could lead to financial failures or fire sales.

“The average (occupancy rate) as of a week ago was 60 percent,” he said. “This is not what the investment community expected.”

Commissioners who voted against the ordinance say it could lead to an exodus of workers, and that it contains no provision for seasonal workforce housing. Oil companies said banning crew camps in city limits isn’t a good idea because hotel and apartment rates are still high, and companies are operating on tight margins.

“We are in a fragile time in the industry,” said Nabors Industries official Orlando Romero.

Halliburton official Brent Eslinger said housing oil workers in apartments and hotels isn’t always the best solution, anyway.

“Crews come and go,” he said. “They may work down in North Dakota or travel out of state. They follow where the work is at. They may be gone a couple weeks or be back. We cannot guarantee hotel rooms if we don’t know where they’re going to be from week to week.”

In related news, Williston moves toward closing the last of the crew camps.

Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

10 comments

  1. Disagree with this. Rent is still to high and if and when it takes off again. Owners will raise rent faster then to can imagine…

  2. City counsel filled with apartment building owners who are watching their personal incomes wither away. It’s called “open corruption”.

  3. Rent increases after this takes effect!

  4. Sounds like racketeering to me….

  5. I think it is time to move the camps out of that city and spend your money elsewhere. If they don’t want camps, guess they don’t want their money either.

  6. It will be the high rent and with the pay rates dropping more and more people will leave.

  7. I would too. After all the guys that live in these camps only spend money in your town makes perfect sense to me also.

  8. This will only cause housing prices to stall or go up. The security provided with these man camps is not provided in the hotels nor the local apartments. The man camps provided by the companies brought income paid directly to the city this being figured per bed. Closing these man camps this money will not be collected anymore. Most of these people staying in these man camps are on a hitch, meaning they only work here 15 to 20 days a month and then they switch out for the next person to come in. This will only turn your apartment complex into a hotel. Not to mention placing these gentleman in the local hotels as the mayor would wish. What about the prostitution issues many of these hotels have dealt with in the last 3 years? Or shall we mention drugs, or the bars located on the properties or within walking distance. While when placed in a man camp these things are monitored and not permitted. I’m not sure the situation and the effect on community was taken into account.

  9. I don’t think Williston locals feel that a workforce so transient that’s it’s not willing to rent a room adds much value to their town

  10. They aren’t permitted Nichole Lynn Peterson but it does take place