But when Woody Guthrie met BPA in 1941, creative sparks flew.
The musical electricity that resulted is still heard, thanks to a former BPA employee named Bill Murlin and his quest in the 1980s to rekindle the embers of a lost legend.
The story began in May 1941, when Guthrie was hired on a one-month contract to speed-write music for a BPA film on the new Columbia River hydroelectric system.
“They couldn’t get him on the (permanent) payroll,” says Gene Tollefson, BPA retiree and author of “BPA & the Struggle for Power at Cost.” “So they hired him for 30 days. And he wrote a song a day.”