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By RENÉE JEAN [email protected]
Williston may be shutting down its man camps, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any man camps within driving distance for displaced oil and gas sector workers. Those camps just won’t be within Williston — or maybe even within North Dakota’s state line.
Across the border in Montana, not too far from the Bainville’s city limits, sits a quiet little place that some 66 oilfield workers have been calling their home away from home in the Bakken. It is called McBain Properties, and it offers up to 190 beds of temporary workforce housing in the area, all within about 25 miles of the Williston downtown.
Karan L. Winter is the McBain Properties assistant property manager.
“We’re about 20 miles from the Trenton turnoff,” she says. “That puts us about 25 miles from downtown. It’s convenient. It would be good for those losing their housing, if they don’t want to go into hotels or apartments. We do have some rooms, so that if they absolutely want to keep their guys in this type of temporary housing, we will have some availability.”
The camp is visible along the righthand side of Highway 2 as you head from Williston to Bainville. At first glance, you may think this is some abandoned housing. The tan buildings that sit in front of the camp were never put in service and are not presently occupied. They could be, however, if the need arose.
“This is part of the draw, and one of the big pluses of the smaller man camps,” Winter said. “You’re able to make connections you ordinarily wouldn’t and you care about each other and what’s happening. You know what is going on in their work and their family life, too.”