As Wealth Migrates To Montana…

by William Skink

What is Montana going to look like after the GREAT PANDEMIC MIGRATION of 2020? This huge state of about a million people has suddenly become one of the hottest destination locations for those with the resources to flee, and the consequences are sure to be a worsening of preexisting trends already impacting non-wealthy Montanans.

In Gallatin County they’re calling it a “crisis point” in relation to housing. That valley has a vacancy rate that hovers around 0% and the median cost of a home just keeps going up and up. From the link:

The cost of a home in the Gallatin Valley is more expensive than ever.

Between July 2020 and August 2020, the median price of a single-family home in Gallatin County increased more dramatically than any other time in recent history, jumping from $487,000 to $575,450, according to the Big Sky Country Multiple Listing Service’s market watch report.

That means problems for middle and low-income people trying to buy houses.

Yeah, no shit that means problems for “middle and low-income people”. But since this is Montana, aren’t these mostly white people? Why aren’t they reaping the benefits of white supremacy?

That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

Since consciousness of the class war could lead to a unifying rallying cry across racial divides, it’s a good thing for the ruling ownership class that we don’t think in those terms. That will make it easier to use the gig economy to evict people. From the link:

“SINCE COVID-19 MANY AMERICANS FELL BEHIND IN ALL ASPECTS,” reads the website copy. The button below this statement is not for a GoFundMe, or a petition for calling for rent relief. Instead, it is the following call to action, from a company called Civvl: “Be hired as eviction crew.” 

During a time of great economic and general hardship, Civvl aims to be, essentially, Uber, but for evicting people. Seizing on a pandemic-driven nosedive in employment and huge uptick in number-of-people-who-can’t-pay-their-rent, Civvl aims to make it easy for landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents as gig workers.

Helena Duncan, a Chicago-based paralegal who also participates in housing activism, saw a Craigslist post from Civvl while searching for jobs. The ad alarmed her. 

“It’s fucked up that there will be struggling working-class people who will be drawn to gigs like furniture-hauling or process-serving for a company like Civvl, evicting fellow working-class people from their homes so they themselves can make rent,” she told Motherboard. 

Doesn’t Civvl sound like another great tech disrupter for the investment class? Even better, this gig exploiter can help clear limited land in Missoula and Bozeman for wealthy transplants who can afford to drop a half million in cash for a house. Everyone who matters wins, and if you’re confused about who matters, just take a look at your bank account. If it doesn’t feature passive income revenue streams, you don’t matter.

I do have some bad news for our recently relocated affluent neighbors acclimating to their new surroundings: the professional class you rely on in areas like healthcare might not be available for you on demand.

I’ll share a personal anecdote. I’m a typical 40 year old male who has resisted regular check-ups with a medical provider. I don’t have a “primary care provider”, so I called one in late spring of this year to set up an appointment. After I found one accepting new patients, I scheduled my initial appointment.

I called in May. My appointment is in November.

But don’t let that dissuade you, wealth migrants. We are still selling paradise at bargain prices. And if you can afford to buy a house with cash, I’m sure the ER bill won’t bankrupt you like it has millions of Americans, regardless of the color of their skin.

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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1 Response to As Wealth Migrates To Montana…

  1. Tim A says:

    One tremendously sad thing about the current in-migration to places like Missoula and Bozeman is seeing vibrant small communities continue to die.
    My spouse and I have spent several weekends driving around nearby small towns and while the touristy ones were busy with tourists, others are still in a death spiral. Driving around Main Street Anaconda was tremendously depressing with 80% of store fronts just vacant. We had lunch at a cool restaurant in town someone had spent a lot of money renovating, and it was already for sale.
    We had a cool weekend a few months back driving up to Dixon and seeing this little Mercantile some transplants from Seattle had set up as a Sunday organic brunch place. I wish more people would realize they’d be far better settling in a small town struggling to get by than being the next 100,000th Missoulian or Bozemanite and continuing to drive up the cost for locals.

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