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Natasha Cortner, "Life in The Patch", Published May 08 2012

Areavoices | The oil rush: Blogger watches Williston go from sleepy town to Boomtown

Hello from Williston, ND!!!

5 years ago, my husband and our son moved here from Red Lodge, MT. Our accomidations at the time was the El Rancho. It was the middle of January. There was very little snow but gosh, was it cold! Our son was 17 months old and just learning to run. I remember bundling him up to take him outside to stretch his little legs, a couple of days couped up in the hotel room was enough to drive even an adult stir crazy. We went outside and it was SO cold, the air froze the lungs and made you cough. 2 minutes out in those elements and his little nose was bright red and his eyes were watering from the extreme cold. This clearly was not going to work for us so I packed him up in the car and we went to Wal-Mart. We were one of about 10 vehicles in the parking lot. I took our son into Wal-Mart and just let him run! I followed him around with the cart for about half an hour, the little man just ran and ran! Up one isle and down the other, zig-zagging back and forth. This was a great plan and worked beautifully for us! There was no one in the store for us to bother!!!!

So, for the rest of the winter I would travel back and forth, from our cabin in Red Lodge to the room at El Rancho…and while my husband was at work my days would consist of taking little man to Wally-world to let him strech his legs then we would drive around and explore this new countryside.

Around April, it was our blessing to move into a house!!! The rent was $600 a month for a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 story house with a full basement. The house seemed enormous to us and honestly, for the first year we did not even use the 2nd story of the house!

Our first summer in Williston was amazing! We absolutely fell in love with this area! We were catching walleye and catfish left and right and my husband caught his first northern pike at Blacktail!!! My husband is an avid hunter and we were in aw at how wonderful the wild game out here tasted! Corn and wheat fed deer…you really couldn’t come across anything better!! We enjoyed yard work together, grew a beautiful vegetable garden, I couldn’t grow enough flowers and our son had his 2nd birthday party out in our cozy yard!

We loved it here! He had a great job, we had an amazing place to live…we wanted to buy a home, get a boat and call Williston home for the rest of our lives!! Aside from missing the mountains, I was extremely content. Heck, the mountains and family were only 5 hours away, anyhow!

Fast forward 3 years. The first summer Willistonboomed, it happened all at once. One day I notice tent-city in Davidson park, suddenly the traffic resembles a small city, there are actually traffic jams in town!!! Our neighbor down the block has 3 travel trailers in their yard and people are walking up and down the alley at all hours of the night, sometimes wandering through our yard. Some people even have the audacity to throw their booze bottles into our yard. One day, while I am out mowing the lawn, I find 3 credit cards under

lilac bush. (These are just a few examples of the sudden changes I saw.)

Needless to say, the Williston that we fell in love with has changed QUITE a bit. The sleepy, dusty little town now resembles that of an inner city machine. We bought our house and have 1 whole lot deticated to gardening…we choose to focus on that and not the kayoss around us. We clean up trash out of our yard on a daily basis, smile and say hello to passers by and just try to make our world as pleasant as possible. It is a happy and exciting day when a 4-way stop is installed at an intersection so that I do not have to risk my son’s and my life twice a day while taking him to school!!

I know that things around here will get sorted out eventually and it will be a happy town once again. Until then, you must be the change that you would like to see in this world!