45°50'8”N 119°41'57”W Hybrid-Poplar Farm

Hybrid Poplar Farm

Upswell concepted, shot, and edited an experimental video essay exploring the rise and fall of the Potlach Hybrid-Poplar Tree Farm. Located in Eastern Oregon, this 17,000 acre farm grows more than 7 million trees – a density that is unmatched by any other crop. Poplar trees were originally used as pulp for the paper industry, but as recycled materials took pulp’s place, the farm fell into years of underutilization.

In 2008, the farm and its trees were rebranded as a sustainable material source for the building industry – right as the housing market began to fail. Upswell’s film explores the farm’s future in uncertain times, illustrates the surreal beauty of millions of tree in perfect rows, and challenges our perceptions sustainability, land-use, and rural landscapes.

A stand of crop evokes mystery and astonishment.


  • Portland, OR


  • 2011