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Old 07-16-2007, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Great Falls, Montana
529 posts, read 1,728,819 times
Reputation: 245

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I would only be tempering those who would complain about cost over in the Flathead.... those who would come here with stars in their eyes about living at the very base of the mountain, only to default on their home loan two years later because the wages are so low.

Sure, western Montana's got a glut... and a big one at that, no doubt about it. Oh sure, Kalispell is a wonderful place, until the time comes that you have to eat or pay your taxes, or get laid off from your lower than standard pay job. Then what?... We here in Montana can't be responsible for a poor decision made by someone who wouldn't listen to reason in the first place, now, can we?

You moved to Montana, set yourself up in an area "you thought" would suit you, and here you are.... getting ready to leave because you either can't, or won't make it here... it's not our fault that your choice wasn't the wisest one.
Money can be made here, it just can't be made in Kalispell, that's all.... and Kalispell would be the last place any middle class person with any sense would ever move to.

As far as western Montana?... Well, I've been there... done that, and that's about it.

Forclosures are up on the west side 6% in 3 years, and everything just isn't coming up roses for those who wanted to come up here to live at the foot of the mountain.

JoeJoeMan said it best... "You can't eat scenery, and pretty mountains won't pay the bills".....

If you want to see some sort of success in Montana, but are strapped into only earning a middle class income, then places like Great Falls and Billings are the places to get the job done.

Great Falls wears it's growth well, and there is lots of room here to accomodate any kind of growth, large or small..... it's the same with Billings.
We can handle it, whereas, Missoula, Kalispell and other areas up and down the 93 corridor cannot.

I've said it before;

There are reasons why Great Falls and Billings have been larger longer.... and oil is just one of the many "very sustainable" industries we have here.
And there are reasons why places like Kalispell and Missoula will never shine as brightly as our cities in the east do.... Western Montana cities will always have the low wages, because short of a mountain or a tree or two, there isn't anything else there to sustain the population for any extended period of time.

And yes... we most certainly do have the best and the largest hospital in the state.... even bigger and better than Billings I might add...

Great Falls isn't booming at all..... far from it... we are growing steadily, and oil has been around these parts for 100 years... so it doesn't have anything to do with our growth in the larger scheme of things.

It's not just Great Falls and Billings either.....
Many other towns are doing much better and provide better wages....
Look at Helena for instance, and even poor ole Butte (once the largest city in the state with over 80,000 people) is making some pretty strong gains these days.

By the time the boomtown days are over in Kalispell or Missoula, you won't be able to give your house away......

Sure, there is a pretty good cheerleading section here for Great Falls and Billings.... because we who were born and raised here know exactly where the money is....

Kalispell couldn't have much of a grass roots cheerleading section here anyway, because all of Kalispell's natives are living over here now..... we are the ones that know the weather, the economic situations, the best and highest paying jobs and so on and so forth.

I highly encourage folks doing their research before moving to a new place......
If everyone did extensive research about Montana (like they should do), before moving here, you would find less of them piling in to Kalispell or the Bitterroot, and more of them would be moving to places that better suits their long term financial situation.

Last edited by GiftShoppeGuy; 07-16-2007 at 05:51 PM..
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Old 07-16-2007, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Polson, Montana
8 posts, read 29,415 times
Reputation: 17
Default GiftShoppeGuys opinion rubs me wrong.

I take offense to GiftShoppeGuy acting like the know all end all of the Bitterroot/Mission/Flathead Valley knowledge. I was born and raised in the Mission Valley, and after moving to the Seattle area after I graduated, realized the Valleys of Western MT was IT! You can have it all here you just have to be smart.

You bring your job with you, or make sure you do what is needed in this area. I would rather work for myself and live in a beautiful place than think that making tons of money in Billings or Great Falls is the be all end all of life.

My husband and I both work for ourselves, we have two children, live in a $200,000 home on an acre of land overlooking Polson, have a boat and wave runners to enjoy Flathead Lake, ATV's for hunting and recreating with, and a camper to get away in. None of those things are new, all used and paid in full for so we can enjoy our way of life here and still have money to put away for retirement.

So...you can do both in these Western Montana Valley's ~ you just have to be smart. Maxing yourself out, won't work around here. Live modestly, yet happily and you'll love the life the Mountains and Lake provide! Small town life rocks too! Your kids can ride their bikes to the park and you aren't stressed every minute.

Sorry...had to get this all off my chest after reading his blog.
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Old 07-16-2007, 06:07 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,462,668 times
Reputation: 15488
Ahh, the same rosie picture over and over, I did notice in my research that median income is higher in other cities like Missoula compared to GF, schools ranked higher and crime was lower in cities other than GF. The one area where GF ranked better was clean air days by about 5. There has to be some draw to other places than GF and I think once people come here most are willing to give a some to get some of what they want. I may not find this my cup of tea and medically can't take it anymore but thankfully I have the ability to change my location if I please.
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Great Falls, Montana
529 posts, read 1,728,819 times
Reputation: 245
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdogs-mt View Post
I take offense to GiftShoppeGuy acting like the know all end all of the Bitterroot/Mission/Flathead Valley knowledge. I was born and raised in the Mission Valley, and after moving to the Seattle area after I graduated, realized the Valleys of Western MT was IT! You can have it all here you just have to be smart.

You bring your job with you, or make sure you do what is needed in this area. I would rather work for myself and live in a beautiful place than think that making tons of money in Billings or Great Falls is the be all end all of life.

My husband and I both work for ourselves, we have two children, live in a $200,000 home on an acre of land overlooking Polson, have a boat and wave runners to enjoy Flathead Lake, ATV's for hunting and recreating with, and a camper to get away in. None of those things are new, all used and paid in full for so we can enjoy our way of life here and still have money to put away for retirement.

So...you can do both in these Western Montana Valley's ~ you just have to be smart. Maxing yourself out, won't work around here. Live modestly, yet happily and you'll love the life the Mountains and Lake provide! Small town life rocks too! Your kids can ride their bikes to the park and you aren't stressed every minute.

Sorry...had to get this all off my chest after reading his blog.
Good for you.

I am "very" familiar with the Mission Valley.... a great playground for young folks too I might add.

You work for yourself too... this is great.... So do I...

But there are any good numbers of folks that move to these western valleys with stars in their eyes, and when it doesn't work out for them, they blame "Montana", when they should be blaming themselves.

Surely you aren't denying the fact that wages are low over there.... for the regular guy, average job, living less than modestly sometimes won't even do it for them.... and you know it, just like I do.
And 95% of the folks that move there, certainly "don't" bring their employment with them.

You also know that the middle class has gone away over there..... it flat does not exist..... being from Montana, you should already know these things.
Either you "own" it, or you don't..... even small business owners can have a rough go of it over there.

Born and raised in Dillon, and lived well over 20 years in Missoula/County..... I still have a great deal of friends living on the west side, from Libby, to Kalispell, to Ronan, to Charlo, to Dixon, to Arlee, to Missoula and on off into the Bitterroot, Florence, Darby, and we still own land up the West Fork.... Trust me.... I know about western Montana, and at times, much more so than I would care to.

Over the past 35 or some odd years, I've watched the beautiful valleys of the west ruined by those who would wish to put a house on every mountain top, Mission Valley included. I dislike the looks of western Montana more and more every year. It absolutely "is not" what the promotionals would have you believe it is..... Western Montana hasn't been "pristine" for well over 25 years...... The old Montana doesn't exist over there any more, and hasn't for a very very long time.

Last edited by GiftShoppeGuy; 07-16-2007 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:24 AM
 
28 posts, read 133,488 times
Reputation: 26
Why are the wages in Montana so low? I see alot of simularities of the town i live in. Most local people cannot afford to buy housing here and the people moving in here are retired and do not blink an eye to chunking down lots of money for a piece of property. And, dont get me started on the fact that there is not much work here either!
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:59 AM
 
47 posts, read 183,587 times
Reputation: 24
You are going to have to visit and decide for yourself. The truth is that Great Falls, Billings, and Western Mt are very different and it just comes down to personal preference. My personal preference is Western MT but there are people who are perfectly happy in other areas and would hate to live where I do.

Also, don't pay too much attention to what people on this forum say about Western MT. If so, you will come away with the impression that it is basically Flint, Michigan with Aspen home prices. The truth is that we do have a stable economy and we are not fading out.
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Polson, Montana
8 posts, read 29,415 times
Reputation: 17
Default Well said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcbmontana View Post
You are going to have to visit and decide for yourself. The truth is that Great Falls, Billings, and Western Mt are very different and it just comes down to personal preference. My personal preference is Western MT but there are people who are perfectly happy in other areas and would hate to live where I do.

Also, don't pay too much attention to what people on this forum say about Western MT. If so, you will come away with the impression that it is basically Flint, Michigan with Aspen home prices. The truth is that we do have a stable economy and we are not fading out.
To jbcmontana, kudos to you, well said.
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:02 PM
 
1,309 posts, read 2,550,727 times
Reputation: 2113
Thats right,very different. i personally wouldnt live anywhere in the eastern part. to dry and not enough trees.give me mountains and lakes anytime.and in the flathead /lake county area you can reach any of these in any direction in a very short amount of time.
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Cody WY Off Of Belfry Hwy
737 posts, read 2,840,101 times
Reputation: 233
The more negative posts I read about Western MT, the more it makes me want to do a "drive by" after visitng Northern ID next week. Maybe I'll drive through on my way home the weekend of the 27th. Take the I90 out of CDA, and head on down and check it out. See for myself just how bad it is

Living in Southern Ca, I can tell you what urban sprawl looks like on a large scale. I can understand how folks that have always lived in MT, could easily view the sprawl as "major", when in fact, it might pale in comparison to some other places.
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Old 07-17-2007, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
1,154 posts, read 3,955,655 times
Reputation: 702
If you want good wages and a sustainable economy, you'd do well for yourself to look at the larger cities that are close to the Montana border. Spokane, Lethbridge, Calgary, etc. You'll get better wages in any of those places, with equally/more beautiful scenery. Each of those are conservative cities as well, which is more than you can say about Missoula.

But Western Montana is hardly THAT bad. Yeah, the wages could be better, but crappy wages are just as much of a Montana hall mark as porkchop sandwiches. If you're self-employed, there's a very good chance you'll love it. Definitely would suggest checking it out, at least.
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