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Old 02-17-2013, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Oregon
160 posts, read 574,630 times
Reputation: 72

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My husband and I are looking at relocating to the Whitefish/C. Falls area in the next couple of months. We will be renting for a while, and I will be looking for work. I am a native Oregonian, and it seems the cost of living is slightly lower than where I am from. Being from the Pacific Northwest and use to the rain and snow, I don't feel that the weather would be a problem. I lived in Wisconsin for a time, and 40 inches of snow at a time and below 0 degree temps were a normal thing during the winter months. I am interested more in the prospects of the job market, rental properties and so forth. I also have read several posts that talk about the crime in the area, is that an issue in northern Montana? When we visited last fall we met some absolutely wonderful locals that were very kind and full of stories and advice. I am a mountain girl, and he is cowboy through and through. Living there would put us right in the middle of all our children who live across the US and Canada. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.

tj
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:56 PM
 
297 posts, read 669,512 times
Reputation: 276
Job market? Don't think there is much of one these days anywhere in the Flathead Valley (Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls). Of the three towns I think CF is the most economically depressed. Whitefish is first and foremost a tourist town so you might be able to pick up a minimum wage service job unless you are, say, a registered nurse or in some other occupation that is in demand just about anywhere. Don't know about the rental market and crime stats.

For anyone who is contemplating moving to Montana (anywhere but the booming oil fields in the North Dakota border area), I say you better bring a good job with you or have one lined up.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:38 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,749 posts, read 9,053,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tj7run View Post
My husband and I are looking at relocating to the Whitefish/C. Falls area in the next couple of months. We will be renting for a while, and I will be looking for work. I am a native Oregonian, and it seems the cost of living is slightly lower than where I am from. Being from the Pacific Northwest and use to the rain and snow, I don't feel that the weather would be a problem. I lived in Wisconsin for a time, and 40 inches of snow at a time and below 0 degree temps were a normal thing during the winter months. I am interested more in the prospects of the job market, rental properties and so forth. I also have read several posts that talk about the crime in the area, is that an issue in northern Montana? When we visited last fall we met some absolutely wonderful locals that were very kind and full of stories and advice. I am a mountain girl, and he is cowboy through and through. Living there would put us right in the middle of all our children who live across the US and Canada. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.

tj
Moving anywhere with no job is a bad idea. The cost of living may be lower than where you live but the wages in Montana are some of the lowest in the nation and the cost of living in Montana, and especially in that area often do not keep up with the low wages. As Montana Gyrl said it, it is better if you can bring your own job.

I always take grief for this, but I am going to tell you that many people in that part of Montana are not very welcoming of outsiders for various reasons.

With the factors listed above temperatures shouldn't be too high of a concern.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Oregon
160 posts, read 574,630 times
Reputation: 72
My husband will not be working there, only I will be looking for work. That being said I am not too worried, but that is our reason for visiting in the next couple of weeks, too really try and get a feel for what we may be looking at. I can tell you that when I moved to Wisconsin I was shocked by how the locals treated those from different states. So I will keep an honest eye open for how we are treated when we visit Montana. Thank you both for your insight, I appreciate it.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:52 PM
 
4,757 posts, read 4,046,150 times
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I think Whitefish has a lot of promise. Enjoy your next chapter. Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:49 AM
 
297 posts, read 669,512 times
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As far as how outsiders are treated, I think western MT is fairly welcoming unless the people moving in complain about what Montana is and try to change it to what they just left. Without a doubt, I think the phrase least likely to endear anyone to Montanans is, "Well, in ___________ , we do it THIS way, which is so much better."

I've seen that happen with out-of-staters coming in and opening, say, a restaurant. They act like they're so superior and bringing culture to all us "hicks." It's the kiss of death for their business, and when they're gone everyone says, "Good riddance."

Whitefish, being so touristy, might be more welcoming than other communities. They kind of have to be if they want to survive. Best of luck!
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Oregon
160 posts, read 574,630 times
Reputation: 72
We certainly enjoyed the locals when we visited. We do not want to make changes or suggest changes, we both are old and wise enough to appreciate what Montana has to offer. Thank you all for your comments, we are looking forward to visiting again soon.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:31 AM
 
281 posts, read 731,677 times
Reputation: 299
The worst thing one can do is come to Montana jobless. I'm sorry, but it is true. Unless you are of a profession, you will be hoofing it quite some time finding work especially in the winter months. I'm in Polson which is not far from Whitefish. Everyone told us when we got here in October that it is dead here in winter, and that is the truth. A lot of businesses cannot stay open. So, come with a large savings account in tow, because you'll need it in order to survive until you can find work. When people tell you there are no jobs here, they mean it.

Over the years, my husband and I have seen many many people come, stay a year, pack up and get out of Montana because they find out how expensive it is to be here. The rents are high and do not match wages. A lot of people get depressed because the winters are very long. My husband is dealing with this now. I'm used to it because I grew up in Nome Alaska.

When we moved to the Bitterroot valley in 2006, we already had family here, so we had a place to land and people to back us up. My husband was still in college, and jobless. It took him 3 months to find work and another month before we got our own place. After this, he had to commute to Missoula for years to his job. He hated the commute, especially in winter.... but, we did love living in Lolo. The people there are friendlier than where I am now in Polson.

I lived in Montana for over 6 years and moving into another Montana town did not guarantee friendly locals. The people here are flat out not as warm and welcoming to me or my husband. When you are just an out of towner, traveling through, it is a different vibe than actual living here.

I don't mean to shed negative light on your hopes and dreams. Getting romantic about mountains and scenery is nice, but you can't eat it and you can't be happy if you are not in a good place among friendly folk.

Don't make the mistake I made. Come to Whitefish and stay for a few weeks and get the vibe. Mingle, go to different businesses and talk to people. Drive around at different times of day. If you know where you'll be living, talk to your neighbors and get to know them and see how friendly the neighborhood is. Get a true feel for everything before you uproot your life because the mountains are pretty. I'm in one of the nicest apartments in town with a gorgeous view of Flathead lake and mountains, but I am not happy here.

Last edited by Heart; 02-21-2013 at 04:39 AM..
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:25 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,749 posts, read 9,053,224 times
Reputation: 11169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heart View Post
Getting romantic about mountains and scenery is nice, but you can't eat it and you can't be happy if you are not in a good place among friendly folk.
The whole post is accurate but this especially rings true. Too many people come out to Montana and think the scenery will make everything worthwhile. Having pretty mountains or a pretty lake to look at doesn't help your situation if you're poor or if you have locals you can't stand.
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