After months of accommodating oil workers living in campers in its big asphalt parking lot, the Williston Walmart started getting tough this week.
The store posted notices Monday that any campers not gone within 24 hours would be towed and impounded at the owners' expense. Some were towed Tuesday morning, said Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling.
The bright yellow notices said the camping was causing safety, noise, litter and property problems and would no longer be tolerated.
Dozens and sometimes more campers filled the lot for weeks or months before moving on, even though there were no water or sewer hookups. Some were living four or more to a small camper without heat or electricity.
Women expressed fear of walking through the parking lot with the men living there and others said they simply quit shopping at the store because of the situation.
Whaling said the store sympathizes with the workers, who are facing a housing shortage, but said the situation reached a turning point based on complaints from the community.
"It's just not appropriate for people to be living in our parking lot. We want to be good neighbors during challenging times," she said. On the other hand, Walmart needs to provide safe, clean and comfortable shopping for its customers and environment for its own employees, she said.
Whaling said the store was teaming up with the Williston Police Department to get the vehicles removed and impounded.
No one from the Williston police was available for comment.