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Woody Guthrie & BPA - Header Art
​Woody Guthrie
An unlikely Collaboration
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​The folk singer’s 30 days at BPA is considered one of the single most productive bursts in his fruitful
songwriting career.
It’s an odd professional combination by today’s standards: a Dust Bowl-born radical songwriter and a Northwest-bred federal power agency.
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.”