WILLISTON, N.D. – A Las Vegas chiropractor who invested $200,000 to turn a 57-foot RV into a mobile clinic to serve patients in the Bakken has gone back home.
Stephen Alexander, who has served oilfield workers from his mobile chiropractic clinic, headed back to Nevada on Wednesday after a Williston City Commission meeting that grew heated Tuesday night.
City commissioners adopted the first reading of an ordinance that establishes a six-month moratorium on all new mobile businesses while guidelines are developed. It exempted Alexander’s MaxHealth Mobile, as well as an existing mobile veterinary clinic.
The meeting grew heated when Alexander told commissioners he felt singled out because he had been told by city staff to cease operating immediately, while the veterinarian did not receive the same notice.
City commissioners, who previously banned food trucks but have not developed an ordinance for other mobile businesses, said it was not the city’s intention to single anyone out.
Commissioner Howard Klug questioned what license plates Alexander had on his RV that is often parked at a Williston hotel. Alexander replied he lives at the hotel and has Nevada plates before walking out of the meeting.
On Wednesday, Alexander said he felt attacked by that question and believes he was discriminated against as an outsider while the veterinarian is a long-time local.
“I want to leave now because I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Alexander said. “From this point forward, it would have been just a fight. I don’t need to fight the battle. It’s Williston’s battle, not my battle. They’re too silly to even know what’s good for them.”
Alexander followed several of his patients who had gone to Williston for work. He said he’s seen about 2,000 patients in the Bakken in the last year, taking his mobile clinic to parking lots of oil companies that contract with him to be available for their employees seven days a week, often at night.
Joe Busch, health and safety officer for JMAC Resources, a heavy civil and energy contractor, said he has many employees who appreciate the convenience of being able to get treated at work. Busch said he was not happy to hear that Alexander left Williston.
“I felt that they kind of beat up on him a little bit,” said Busch, who spoke in favor of the mobile businesses at the meeting.
Klug said Wednesday that western North Dakota residents are frustrated by people who come to work in the state but don’t change their license plates.
“If you want to stay here permanently, do a few things. Establish yourself. Invest in this community,” Klug said. “The simplest way to invest in the state of North Dakota is to change your license plates.”
Alexander said he looked for permanent housing in Williston, recently putting a $365,000 bid on a house but losing to a cash bidder who offered $380,000. Renting an apartment would not give him room to park the RV, so he spent between $5,000 and $6,000 a month to live in Williston hotels.
On Wednesday, Alexander said if his efforts aren’t appreciated, he’d rather go home to his family, friends and former lifestyle.
“I’ve been made better by this experience,” Alexander said. “I’m a lot more appreciative for all of the little things that I have kind of taken for granted.”