July 8, 2011

Pitching camp: RVs become home for rig workers, families

Pitching camp: RVs become home for rig workers, families

Kati Mitchell of Robert Lee, Texas, had never put much thought into North Dakota until her husband, Chris, started looking for work on the internet.
“He said, ‘I keep finding these jobs in North Dakota.’ And I’m going, ‘It’s North Dakota! I don’t think there’s anything there!’”
But Kati soon discovered that there was enough here to draw her, her husband and their three kids to Mountrail County for the summer.
“He’s worked the oil field for eight years. The oil rigs around where we are have shut down,” said Kati, explaining that the nearest rigs were an hour and a half away. “But they’re paying twice as much here as in Texas.”
And that dollar amount was enough to convince the Mitchells to buy an RV and make the trip. The Mitchells are currently living in an RV park near the Four Bears Casino and Lodge west of New Town.
Although there is no agency that tracks the number of out-of-state workers, it has been reported that as many as 35,000 people employed in the oil patch are making their way to Bakkan adjacent areas such as New Town.
The Bakken has brought a large number of people from out-of-state to the area, and the question of where these people are going to live has been a huge one.
“We’re living like hobos,” laughed Charlie, a truck driver from Montacello, Ind.

The Weather Network