(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser. If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped.)
Since my exploits to new bars and breweries are essentially locked-down temporarily, the next several posts will be entitled “Beerchaser Miscellany” – tidbits I wanted to share – some related to beers and bars and others which, in my opinion, deserve to be told.
The pandemic causes us to reassess priorities, relationships and future goals. We are all adapting to new restrictions, routines, ruminations, regimens (dietary) and responsibilities – to do our part to stay safe, to help others who are struggling and to use the time we have as productively as possible.
Having two daughters who are nurses, I salute all the healthcare providers and pray for their safety. Also for parents struggling to balance work and childcare and business owners who face financial jeopardy. (And speaking of healthcare providers, see the end of this post for a narrative and pictures of one Oregon physician who left a lasting legacy.)
But I’ve been trying to move forward by reading – new material rather than my standard escapist trash fiction, exercise daily, reach out to friends and former colleagues to check on them, expand the scope of movies and documentaries I watch (will still not watch soccer…..), listen to new music genres and even do jigsaw puzzles – we did four 500- piece and then tried a 1,000 piece enigma – named “The Pottery Shed.” (Going through old files has also been productive – see below.)
Pontificating on Puzzles
I checked on Google to see how long, on average, to complete a 1,000 piece puzzle and the first cite stated 3 to 4 hours which is absurd in my opinion. After reading another post by the Puzzle Warehouse that opined 10 to 24 hours, it made our collective approx. 40 hours over two weeks seem more reasonable and I reflected:
1. After agonizing over the features of a bunch of flowers which predominated, I am comfortable with my intent never to have gardening as a hobby.
2. If one assumes an average reading speed of 70 pages per hour, I could have, for the same investment of time, read each of the books in the photo below which are still unread on the shelves of my home library.
(“On Bullshit,” is not unread and worth reading again and again – 27 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List in 2005! And if you want more of a justification of that last assertion, check out this former Beerchaser post)
3. After spending several hours and telling me “I’m done!”, Janet was eventually lured back and we finished it together – time we spent together which would not have been the case if we had read separate books.
Bar and Brewery News
Fly Boy Brewing and Cascade Brewing – I was pleased, but not surprised because of his entrepreneurial spirit, when Mark Becker joined three partners to buy Cascade Brewing, known throughout the Northwest for its sour beers.
Mark, who began brewing in his parents’ house while still in high school, founded FlyBoy with his wife, Kristi, in 2014 and it was featured in Thebeerchaser in 2017: https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/05/25/navigate-a-course-to-flyboy-brewing/
FlyBoy is one of my favorite breweries in the Portland area and Mark is an engaging guy. Although I had been to the Cascade Barrel House, in 2017, I was not as enamored with its ambiance and sour ale – although I’m in the minority on the beer. I’m looking forward to returning to see what the new owners concoct.
As reported in BrewPublic (April 2, 2020)
“(Cascade founder Art Larrance) helped pass Oregon’s Brewpub Law, paving the way for scores of pubs since. He founded Cascade Brewing in 1998, and in 2006, worked with his brewmaster, Ron Gansberg, on an aging and blending program that would lead to countless awards and an entirely new style of beer known as the Northwest Sour Ale.”
Flat Tail Brewing in Corvallis – As I reported in my last post, I was sorry to hear that the cherished Corvallis Flat Tail Brewery appears to have permanently closed – not because of Covid 19 – but because of a dispute with their landlord over their lease as chronicled in a BrewPublic.com post on June 15th entitled “Flat Tail Brewing Closes its Doors in Downtown Corvallis.”
It showed its mettle when it took on Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing on use of Flat Tail’s slogan “Dam Good Beer.”
“(Dave) Marliave was dismayed when he learned that 10 Barrel Brewing Co. — a Bend brewer now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewing company in the world and the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light — had taken the slogan for itself. A semi-trailer from 10 Barrel with the phrase even drove right past the downtown Corvallis brewery earlier this week, Marliave said.”
We certainly hope the ten-year old brewery with the slogan “Dam Good Beer,” finds a new location and reopens in the near future.
Renner’s Bar and Grill – This historic dive bar in Multnomah Village – opened in 1939 – which closed after a disastrous fire in April 2018, just reopened in June as reported in Portland Food and Drink.com
Just around the corner from another one of my favorite bars – The Ship Tavern, I reviewed Renner’s in 2017 and unlike the stereotypical dive bar, it has great food.
As stated by co-owner, Josh “Uncle Stumpy,”, “My goal is to maintain the dive bar experience, but offer superior food from scratch and a neighborhood bar charm.”
And the food is inexpensive and delicious with a surprisingly varied menu. And, of course, a short walk to The Ship, which made my list of Best Dive Bars in Portland in 2019 is also a must for a nightcap.
The Standard – This classic made the list as my top dive in the 2019 post for a reason best stated by Mathew Korfhage, former Willamette Week columnist, when he stated:
“The bar is cheap, no-nonsense fun in a way that takes all comers and yet is loving towards its long-time regulars. These days in Portland that makes The Standard not very standard at all. It makes it a GD treasure.”
Fortunately, The Standard reopened on June 19th. Unfortunately, it’s trademark Happy Hour and all-day Wednesday $1 Hamm’s Drafts are gone but not forgotten – thanks to their insurance company and its lawyers.
WWeek told the story in a July 2019 article, “A Beloved East Portland Dive Bar is Being Forced to End One of the City’s Cheapest Beer Deals.”
Owner Reed Lamb said, “After over 11 years with no claims, zero OLCC violations, & a spotless payment history, they chose not to do business with us anymore.” Hamms’ Drafts are now $2, but they could be twice that and The Standard would still be a must.
And Speaking of Lawyers
Although not an attorney, I worked with lawyers for over forty years in three different organizations and loved Legal Management and the lawyer personality. The Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm from which I retired in 2011, after twenty-five years, was a wonderful firm with lawyers who were skilled advocates and with great character. (Okay, there were some exceptions, but very few… You’ll have to wait for my book to see the specifics….)
I was therefore surprised when the Oregon Supreme Court in a 4 to 3 vote, approved waiving the bar exam – not just temporarily, but permanently, for any 2020 law grad in the State of Oregon. The Washington “Supremes” took the same action for grads to the North – a benefit that the State of Wisconsin has long offered their grads. Law School Deans lobbied for this course of action which was opposed by the State Bar.
I have not talked to any of my friends, but it would not surprise me if many practicing lawyers – who went through the long and arduous prep and grueling two-day exam (with an average pass-rate of 75%) have the same opinion as a July 1 Oregonian editorial entitled, “No bar exam – no problem – except for the public.”
And Files to Go Before I Sleep
Since a good part of my career involved communication – most notably with lawyers who were trained in the nuances of the language and relish analyzing and attacking, others’ oral and written discourse, I saved many e-mails, memos and articles from my 40+ years working with attorneys.
Also pictures and memories from college days, civic work, grad school papers, newspaper articles on travel and entire newspaper editions on significant events such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the OJ Simpson Trial in 1995 and the Impeachment Trial of Bill Clinton in 1999.
I also saved a number of Newsweek Magazines from events of similar magnitude.
And at a charity auction, I even paid a relatively handsome amount for the January 1, 2000 Editions of seven notable US Newspapers – the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald.
My wife, Janet, insisted with good reason during the lock-down, that I start going through and recycling at least 50% of the eleven file-cabinet drawers and multiple boxes I have filled with this (junk?) She even helped me and one day when I was in doubt, she said, “Don, we are not going to use an 1998 article about a brewery in Des Moines for a future road trip.”
And when I asserted that our grand kids could use the historic newspapers in their future social science classes, she just rolled her eyes and laughed. (And the Kodak carousel trays with slides from my Mt. Hood climbs and Scout backpacks had to go since I had not looked at them in over fifty years.)
So with some diligence, I began attacking this mass (mess?) so our kids would not have to in the future…… Some of the job-related material I’ll save for the aforementioned book, but even the bulk that I recycled gave me a good chuckle that was welcome during a pandemic. One of my favorite examples is below and I’ll save some others for the next post.
An Oregon Medical Icon – Dr. Cameron Bangs
Cam Bangs, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 78, was a unique individual and physician who practiced for thirty years in Oregon City. I had the privilege of having him a my primary-care physician for a number of years.
I loved Dr. Bangs and one of my most prized letters was from my home medical records file following a physical exam in 1990 when I was 42. But, first, a few words about Dr. Bangs.
In his younger days, he had the appearance of a Mountain Man – a big red beard and long untamed hair, and he usually wore wilderness duds. That’s because he essentially was a Mountain Man – climbing major peaks all over the world and developing the expertise to become one of the worlds’ expert in mountain medicine and hypothermia.
In fact, I remember one time that I saw him, he had just participated in a hypothermia research project in which he immersed himself (I think with a companion researcher) in a tank of freezing water so his bodily responses could be monitored.
Southcoast Today 10/31/2015 – “……with a renowned expertise in mountain medicine, cold weather injuries and treatment, and mountain rescue. He participated in more than 50 rescues of climbers and skiers on Mt. Hood, in Oregon, and set up the local hospital’s frostbite and hypothermia treatment facility.
In the 1970s, he was given national recognition for his work in mountain medicine and was awarded Oregon Doctor of the Year.”
Dr. Bangs was generous with his time – helping others and also a non-conformist, of sorts, who railed against the establishment and ostentation as evidenced by this article from People Magazine in 1977:
“The 40-year-old internist is a member of Oregon’s mountain rescue service. Usually working as part of an Army National Guard helicopter squad (nicknamed the “Flying St. Bernards”), he has helped save an estimated 75 lives in 55 rescues over the past nine years, and has treated hundreds of cases in hospitals for climbing injuries and exposure…..‘I deplore the kind of thing where a doctor joins this or that because he might pick up a few referrals. And frankly, many of my colleagues bore the hell out of me.’” (emphasis supplied)
And any Baby Boomer Oregon resident will remember the 1970 rock festival held near Estacada – Vortex 1: A Biodegradable Festival of Life at an Oregon State Park that hosted between 30,000 to 100,000 protesters – against Richard Nixon who was scheduled to appear at an American Legion Conference to be held in Portland.
Based on the courageous decision of then Governor Tom McCall’s – a Republican who showed remarkable foresight and integrity throughout his term – “it remains the only state-sponsored rock festival in United States History.” (Wikipedia)
And Cameron Bangs was the supervising doctor for all medical care at Vortex 1 as written in the Clackamas Review by his friend, Matt Love, to whom Dr. Bangs gave his “entire 20,000 word-in-the-moment diary of Vortex” for a book this prolific author wrote entitled “The Far Out Story of Vortex 1″
“Dr. Bangs joined me at several events to promote the book and charmed audiences with his candid and humorous memories from the festival, particularly his assertion that he had set a world record for treating the most sunburned breasts and penises in a single time period…..
A lot more people should know what Dr. Bangs and many other Oregonians did at McIver Park 45 years ago. It was so much more than just a big party to avert potential violence. And Cameron Bangs was so much more than just a doctor.”
He also served on the Portland Trailblazers’ medical staff during the ’70’s and had a 45-acre farm outside Oregon City where he raised a variety of farm animals. His herd of cows started when he took a pregnant cow as payment for a medical bill. https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2015/09/cameron_bangs_hypothermia_and.html
So what story do I have that can contribute to the engaging accounts above. Well, in 1990, I was having a lot of intense migraine headaches. My wife and I both had demanding jobs and were the parents of two fantastic young girls in grade school.
I got little exercise and hadn’t had a physical exam in awhile, so I made an appointment with Dr. Bangs, knowing this visit would be a lot more pleasant than our previous appointment.
It should make any person who complains about the current prep process for a colonoscopy think of one word and thus be thankful for progress in medical technology i.e. “sigmoidoscopy” but that’s another story……
He decided I should have an electrocardiogram – a treadmill test – after the rest of the exam and lab tests. (Keep in mind that I was 48 years old.)
Afterwards we went into his office and he said, “I’ll send you a letter, but I can tell you now how you did on the treadmill.” Our conversation went like this:
Dr. Bangs: Your results compare to an average 35-year old male.
Beerchaser: That’s encouraging news.
Dr. Bangs: That’s one way to look at it. Personally, I wouldn’t be satisfied with average anything!
Beerchaser: Dr. Bangs – this advice from a guy who just got back from a trip to Asia where he climbed several peaks over 15,000 feet and ran a marathon before that?
Dr. Bangs: (Smiles) Get out of here!
So a week later I get a letter – excerpted as shown below. (Note that this was before e-mails, when a mailed letter took a lot more time and effort).
When I saw the P.S. above I started laughing, but the next day joined the 24-Hour Fitness near my office and began a regular exercise regimen (and subsequently lost seven pounds).