Carl this was always bare upper grass plains land. Columbia River pumped wheat and alfalfa hay large circle irrigated growing after the dams built. Needed the hydroelectricty to do all of the up-hill, distance, pressure delivery irrigation watering.
Was astounding to drive by and see this converted to large machine cultured hybrid popular plantations. Hydro-power irrigated.
The hybrid poplar Agribusinesses were to feed paper pulp chips into the paper mills. World wide chip pulp markets depressed with offshore to the US imports able to be river barge brought in cheaper.
Plus . . . poplar, willow "white" chips turn black quick due to air exposure and moistures.
Imported pine chips had trasportabilty and storeabilty then not requiring a "re-whitening" process/step for the higher value white paper stocks.
Hey. I like cheese's and potatoes. Foods are important.
Highest land value in these parts of adjacent OR and WA is wine vineyards. Search that up and see.
Number 2 is wind farms contracts. Number 3 as the solid waste disposal site for all for the OR, WA states urban dense wet-sides. Westside urban-yuppie NIMBY's made out-of-sight-out-of-mind happy then. Search up garbage barging on the Columbia River.
J-I-C Steve Unruh