What Another Tech Company Coming To Missoula Could Mean For The Housing Market

by William Skink

In a tweet yesterday the Communication Director for Gallatin County, Whitney Bermes, said this about the median home price in Bozeman:

Heard on a call today that the median price for a single family home in #Bozeman rose by $75K between July and August, and is now $584K.

If home prices in Bozeman can skyrocket this much in JUST ONE MONTH, who the hell is going to be able to live in Montana’s hot housing markets by next year?

In Missoula the housing picture got even tighter as yet ANOTHER tech company announced its plans to relocate its operations to Zootown. UNAVCO, a “global engineering and data firm”, made the choice to leave Boulder, Colorado partly due to…wait for it…the HIGH COST OF HOUSING. From the link (emphasis, mine):

“Missoula has a ready and able technically skilled workforce here that we’d love to recruit and integrate into our geodetic workforce,” Bendick said. “Missoula also offers an exceptional quality of life and frankly an affordability that Boulder does not offer to my scientific and technical workforce.”

I’m sure Missoula’s decimated service sector workforce will be excited to hear about how affordable Missoula looks to fleeing Boulderites. And the non-profit workforce should also be energized at the added pressure on Missoula’s housing market as they triage crisis after crisis while our Mayor keeps his hopes (and our public money) pinned to his delusional vision for an event center.

To add insult to injury, this tech company’s mission to locate stuff in time and space sounds like it could have all kinds of creepy applications in our NEW NORMAL. From the link (again, my emphasis):

Using geodesy, UNAVCO studies, records and monitors the position of various bodies, from the rotation of the earth to the movement of tectonic plates. It tracks the movement of ships and aircraft and can be used to guide autonomous vehicles.

It can also measure sea level changes resulting from climate change and evaluate various hazards and risks, which are key to early warning. The data it collects are open sourced and available to the wider scientific community.

“It’s the most useful science that nobody knows what the heck it is,” Bendick said of geodesy. “You might take for granted that you know where things are, but it really takes complicated engineering and science to know exactly where things are. Understanding the position of different kinds of objects in space and time has a huge range of both scientific and technical applications.”

Hmmm, I wonder if “technical applications” could include military and/or law enforcement (I know, pretending like there’s a difference is so OLD NORMAL).

I feel strongly that these local stories are important to track because they signal how Missoula will continue to develop and gentrify, and the changes (and dislocations) in our local backyard is a microcosm of much larger trends impacting this country.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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3 Responses to What Another Tech Company Coming To Missoula Could Mean For The Housing Market

  1. Sandy says:

    Is it possible for an employer to offer high-paying jobs in a city without causing gentrification?

    • you have to look at the local context to even begin to answer that question. is it possible for an employer to offer high-paying jobs in a little Montana college town that has limited land for housing because mountains literally constrain development without causing gentrification? I would say, with that added context, the answer to your question is NO.

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