“A Modern Crit” of Great Falls

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Nathanial Orr, a semi-recent transplant to Great Falls, offers some civil criticism of our fair community in a guest entry over at Electric City Weblog. He starts off with:

I’ve never enjoyed being a naysayer. However, when I am continually being told that Great Falls is a wonderful place to live, and I’m experiencing something different, I am often driven to the point of frustration. I am writing this critique with no intention of offending those around me, because I have met some absolutely wonderful and genuine people during my time here. Instead, I would like to focus on some objective realities about Great Falls with the aim of beginning a dialogue.

He makes a few valid points, but those points are very minor compared to all of the great things about our community.

Which reminds me: in conjunction with Orr’s commentary, you might want to read this entry from 2005 in which Claire Baiz lamented Great Falls’ status compared to other large Montana communities.

“Sadly,” she wrote, “Great Falls fills the role of the ugly stepsister of Montana cities. You want the smart one, date Missoula. You want the rowdy one, see Butte. The up-and-comer? Billings. The sister with clout? Helena. The popular girls? Try the Valley Girls from Kalispell or Bozeman.”

This conversation is just getting started.



  1. I read Nathanial’s comment and I agree with him. I for one am a young professional looking to move back to Great Falls, in hopes of changing its future. Nate points out issues that are obvious to people in Great Falls. There are a number of great things in our community, do not get me wrong, but there are some definite needs for change.
    The revitalization of downtown, the amount of casinos(their signage and aesthetic quality), the ability to attract a younger work force and KEEP them.
    I really think Great Falls needs leaders who will address these problems. We are behind in our state, and it is sad. We have beautiful location; it in itself should be a draw to our community. Unfortunately, when people get to our town they comment on how junky 10th looks or the lack of vitalization downtown. I applaud Nate for posting this, because he is only saying what many of us feel. But we do have the power to change Great Falls, and make it into a better place. I talk to people all the time about change in Great Falls, and they have the same concerns that both you and I do. Furthermore, they share the same energy I feel for the change. We need to be heard and we need to act. I love Great Falls, and I know many of you do too. But I want it to be a place where my future family will love to live as well. Provide the citizens with culture, vitality, and the ability to make an impact where they live and you will see Great Falls boom.

  2. I totally agree with the Nathanial, and most of the reasons he listed are why my wife and I are going to leave Great Falls and Montana as soon as she gets done with her degree. I don’t see this town getting fixed anytime soon because I think there are too many people here that resist change. I’ve worked customer service and anytime you try to change anything people complain and don’t want to hear the reason was to make things better, and most of the people I would hear the complaints from was the older generation.

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