Category Archives: Powers-that-be

Fargo, North Dakota, the Big Bully on the Red River

Sometimes, when the powers-that-be of Fargo do something completely below the belt of what’s fair and honorable, I just cannot keep my own mouth shut. A word here, I no longer send letters-to-the-editor to The Forum, because that newspaper is staunchly on the side of Fargo’s powers-that-be. Letters like the one below (against the high dam, not the diversion) are not published by the Forum, so for editorials the writers must go to the smaller city and newspaper to the south at Wahpeton, ND.
And not that my little blog post here will help, but when the powers-that-be go too far, as I said, I just can’t keep my mouth shut.


Oxbow’s annexation antics over the past six months should impress even Donald Trump. The dash for cash started by the Diversion Authority’s promise of a lucrative buyoff for the little community south of Fargo, has turned into a full blown leap for a golden ring.

Oxbow and the neighboring settlements of Hickson and Bakke used to peacefully coexist in the rural setting along the Red River, but no more. They began on the same side of opposing being flooded by a proposed dam on the Red. But DA chairman Daryl Vanyo’s claim that North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple demanded country club members at Oxbow be made happy or he wouldn’t fund their diversion, has changed that.

Last fall, Oxbow announced their intention to place Hickson and Bakke in their extraterritorial zone. That means they would have to follow Oxbow’s zoning rules. Oxbow handed their neighbors a 90 page book of rules dictating how they could create and maintain their property. Many of the new laws make it too expensive for the pocketbooks of current residents to improve or change their homes.

The residents weren’t happy, so they approached the city of Kindred to consider annexing their two little communities into their town. So Oxbow one-upped them. They annexed a 300 foot strip around the outside of Bakke and Hickson, effectively locking them under their control.

The 75 homeowners are now stuck under Oxbow’s zoning rules whether they like it or not. Oxbow couldn’t annex them, because the country club crowd that runs the city council would be outnumbered by Bakke and Hickson residents, along with residents of Oxbow that don’t align themselves with their mayor or city council.

A result of the annexation, was the inclusion of property owned by Kevin Bartram in Oxbow’s new city limits. That meant that Bartram qualified for a buyout based on the Memorandum of Understanding negotiated by Oxbow city leaders that provides purchase packages worth more than 400% of appraised property values.

Trump has got to be smiling at this one.

But residents of Bakke and Hickson may have dodged a bullet by not being annexed. Red flags are being waved by Fargo city commissioners, and other residents who object to the largesse thrown around by the DA with their tax money. Despite claims of a “rock solid MOU” by Oxbow’s mayor, one Fargo commissioner has suggested that ND’s attorney general to look into the spending practices of the DA. If governor Dalrymple’s demand to gratify Oxbow started this mess, perhaps he will have to be the one to stop it.
Again I will add Neil Young’s song about standing up to the powers-that-be, at least “that” is what I take from the song “Powderfinger.”
From the album, Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Powderfinger (Rust Never Sleeps) – 1979