My Montana Is Dying And Yours Is To

by Travis Mateer

No other state in America saw the kind of people with means move within its borders as Montana did the last two years, and now there’s data to back up what those of us who have been around for awhile can plainly see. From the link:

Bryce Ward, a Montana economist and consultant, used American Community Survey data and found that between 2019 and 2021, the number of Montana households earning $200,000 or more per year increased by nearly 12,000, or 63%.

There were 18,918 such households before the pandemic in the state. Now there are roughly 30,784.

“Data confirm what many Montanans have already noticed,” Ward wrote on Twitter. “Lots more ‘rich’ people live in Montana.”

The next closest states to see such drastic increases were Rhode Island and Vermont at 50% and Utah at 44%. Several states, like North Dakota, Illinois and California, saw a decrease of wealthy households. In the U.S. overall it was about 20%.

These numbers are numbing. And the changes are being felt in visceral ways, ways the newcomers can’t understand because they don’t have the context.

I was a newcomer in 2000 when I moved here after visiting family in Spokane for a wedding. Since I had to finish college, this seemed like a good place to do it.

My own narrative arc is now in a crash and burn phase that is cruelly mirrored in external issues getting local media attention, like the effort that has exploded to save Holland Lake lodge from being massively developed by a Utah-based company who doesn’t give a fuck about the low-key development that has been there, quietly and beautifully, for years.

I got married at Holland Lake lodge in 2003, and now that marriage has fallen apart, so seeing people coming out of the woodworks to slow the development for PR purposes, like Senator Tester, just pisses me off.

Another great set of memories I have of the college days is time spent on KBGA’s airwaves, playing music while comfortably ensconced in a world that made much more sense because the wars were kinetic and started by politicians with the last name “Bush”.

Well, yesterday morning I read about how even that long-appreciated part of Missoula’s community isn’t even being included in emails discussing the intent to relocate the radio station, or possibly shutter it altogether. Read the story for yourself, I find it too maddening to even comment on it right now.

Since the spot where I had my moments broadcasting music from 89.9 on the FM dial might disappear, I went to campus to document this piece of campus history. Here are some pics.

Things change, that is inevitable. And things die. My dog, for example, has bone cancer and the question of whether or not to amputate was mirrored by Missoula’s first Pet Commissioner being a dog that was saved from being euthanized instead of given a chance with amputation.

Instead of forever mourning what is inevitable, I’m going to keep fighting to ensure what comes next isn’t a technocratic dystopia run by psychopaths. That includes continued coverage from the streets as things happen, like this brief commentary on the crisis mill levy:

If you value the work I’m doing, there’s a donation button at my about page. A BIG thank you to the donations that have recently been made, it is greatly appreciated.

So thank you, and stay tuned. I’ve got some interesting stuff brewing.

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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2 Responses to My Montana Is Dying And Yours Is To

  1. Brian says:

    I am wondering why you have not responded to my multiple requests to “talk” about Jason Stevens and his Veterans fleecing in Montana? Please feel free to contact me at

    • Take a hint, Brian. I don’t have time to talk to you about a con artist pulling his con artist bullshit in another state on the other side of the country, my hands are full with a wide range of insanity our local media isn’t covering in this little valley of 80,000 people.

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