Gaining Perspective at the Falls View….

The Falls View Tavern

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  Since this is a long post, if you are seeing it through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

Note: The last 25% of this post may be of particular interest to history buffs.  Check out this story which goes back to 1850 and continues to the present time.

I’ve published quite a few posts related to my time in Oregon City, Oregon – from seventh grade until after I got married at age thirty-one except for time at Oregon State University and in the Navy.  My wife and I then moved across the Willamette River to West Linn – another Portland burb and our high school rival in the old Tualatin Yamhill Valley League.

I was a pretty good kid in high school – motivated by the admonition of Dale Herron, our basketball coach, that if we even thought of frequenting one of Oregon City’s bars (or went skiing at Mt. Hood) we would have to turn in our Chuck Taylor Converse All-stars (black high-tops). 

Knowing that attending college also depended on an academic scholarship and a clean record, I never drank alcohol before I turned twenty-one in college.  (* photo attribution at end of post.)

Oh yeah. When I when I asserted above “pretty good kid,” – in the interest of full disclosure, there was that one incident at the end of our senior year when several of us from the Class of ’66 decided to put an old out-house on the roof of the school. 

Fortunately, OCHS Principal Vern Larson (possibly remembering his own school pranks in North Dakota) went easy on us.   His son, Dave, was one of my best friends, so maybe that didn’t hurt either.  Understandably, Dave was not in the group of pranksters.

And when I worked on Main Street for Clackamas County after naval service, my haunt was either McNaulty and Barry’s – a wonderful and fabled dive (still going strong) across the street from the Courthouse. 

The Dunes Motel Lounge (long gone) was a sleazy alternative – after work attendance and political banter and ample booze consumption were expected during the last two years when I worked for the Clackamas County Commissioners.

Thus, I was surprised when my friend, Matt Love, another Oregon City High School grad, (a lot of years after my diploma) but also an expert on Oregon dive bars, suggested the Falls View Tavern.   It’s right across the street from what was one of our favorite high school hangouts – Art’s Cafe.

We spent a lot of time at Art’s on Friday nights after our games eating their great burgers and fries (Art’s is now the Highland Still House which is a great place to go for a shot of fine whiskey):

“With more than 500 bottles of whisky consistently behind the bar and a rotating collection of rare and exciting whiskies from around the globe.”  *2

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But I never really even bothered noticing the Falls View Tavern. I’m glad that I remedied that in early July with Matt and another Beerchasing regular, Jim Westwood – the dean of our group and another Oregon City High grad.

Both Matt and Jim are outstanding individuals and accomplished professionals as set forth in my post: .https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/07/22/2021-summer-beerchasing-miscellany-part-ii/

And we were not disappointed.  Since it was a nice summer day, we sat in their expansive patio or beer garden.  Falls View on their website describes it as:

Best Beer Garden within ?,??? miles.  Umbrella Covered Tables, Covered Stage, Covered Smoking Area, Fire Pit and a refreshing Misting Station for those two really hot days.”

The patio was a recurring theme in the positive reviews of the bar as best summarized by this 2017 Yelp Review:

“They have created an amazing outdoor area for live music or just kicking back to enjoy some food and drink. Whenever I take pictures of the bands playing in their back patio, friends always think I’m in someone’s backyard, and that’s exactly how it feels. But it’s the best backyard because there are these lovely people who will bring you food and drink in exchange for plastic or cash.”

While it’s nothing fancy, it’s spacious and draws a lot of people who just hang out or listen to the live music on weekends, compete in Wednesday Night Trivia or sing at the open mike on Thursdays.   

The owner, Terry Bee Enstad, another Oregon City High School graduate, said that during the restrictions on indoor dining, the patio was always full and people would come from all over the surrounding area.

The Yelp review mentions “lovely people” and there are other comments about friendly staff. Cyndee, our server that afternoon, exemplified this sentiment.  She’s worked at the bar for 5 1/2 years and since they weren’t extremely busy initially, spent time enlightening us about what makes the bar a “Community.”

And Terry Bee, the delightful owner for the last twenty-one years as of the Friday before we were there (the bar goes back to the 1920’s) lives nearby.   She’s used her charisma and personal touch to turn the Falls View into a community gathering place.  

Cyndee introduced us to one of the regulars named Sabrina, who positively gushed about why “The Falls View has become the only bar I’ll ever visit in the future.”  She lives in nearby Canby and talked about the great food and people she’s experienced since the first time she came to the Falls View two years ago.

“This is the last bar I ever want to be in!” (Sabrina – a regular)

An old building provides some challenges and Terry had had her hands full with maintenance and updating.  For example, a 2018 project involving the flooring gives an apt picture of the challenges:

“With the discovery of hardwood flooring under the carpet, it was an easy decision for Terry to lead the charge to rescue it.  But as with all repairs and projects at The Falls View, being a hundred year old building, you have to be prepared for surprises (usually unpleasant & costly ones). 

 We immediately discovered the first one to be that the floor was covered with a variety of materials including plywood (heavily nailed down), particle board, and something called Fix-All which proved to be a huge obstacle.”  (Falls View Website)

The inside of the dive bar validates the label and has a great musty ambiance with historic photos, signs and a great back bar.  There’s also an alcove for video machines which is nice as they are away from the main part of the bar.

The food is one factor that distinguishes Falls View and people rave about the broiled chicken:

“That said, this place is a KEEPER!  I came for the chicken and left with the opinion that it was, by far, the best chicken experience I’ve ever had.  I say ‘experience’ because everything from the service to the seating was excellent.  Then comes the chicken – five pieces totaling a full half of a chicken, perfectly broasted and seasoned with a very light coating, some hand-cut jo-jos, and garlic bread.” (Yelp 7/9/17)

One-half of a chicken, jo-jos and garlic bread is only $11.75, or the cod fish and fries is a stunningly reasonable $9.75.  And I will definitely return for the chicken gizzards and fries for $8.25 – the only bar I know in the Portland area besides the Yukon Tavern that serves this “delicacy.” 

As their website asserts, “Quirky was probably invented here.”  The breakfast menu also looked very good.

To further give you an example of why Terry should probably raise her prices, take a look at the total bill for the three of us.   Matt had two micro-brew pints and Jim and I each had two tall-boys (Old German – the first time I’ve had that Pittsburgh beer) for a total of $8 since there is a $2 tall-boy special each day. We topped off with a large order of great French fries

And they have five rotating taps besides the three standards (Coors Light, Bud Light and Boneyard IPA) supplemented by almost twenty different bottled and canned beers, wine in addition to ciders and hard lemonades.

Notwithstanding the fact that she was being pulled in several directions as the regulars started to pour in, I spent a pleasant twenty minutes talking to Terry about the bar’s history and her plans.   

My congratulations for her shepherding this establishment into one of the most distinctive and pleasant neighborhood dives I’ve been to in ten years of Beerchasing.  I will definitely be back….

One More Thing…..But It’s Important!

Now to end this post, I have to include some of Oregon City’s fabled history which I have talked about in several prior posts.   That’s also easy with Matt Love, an authority on Oregon lore and history (check out his offerings at the Nestucca Spit Press).

Matt told us that we had to check out the historical marker across the street from the bar at the Willamette Falls View Point.  Besides the outstanding view of the Falls, the locks and the historic mills on both sides of the Willamette River, he told us that the marker conveyed the story of the last Oregon public execution in 1850.

Well there was, in fact, an historic marker, but it was just that of Dr. John McLoughlin,  “known as the ‘Father of Oregon’ for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country.” (Wikipedia)

What happened to the plaque about the Cayuse Five?

However there was nothing regarding the hanging which Matt had referenced.  This sent me on an Internet search and the research may have revealed why officials removed the sign about the capital punishment:

“In May 21, 1850, the trial of five Cayuse men accused of murdering Protestant missionary Marcus Whitman begins in Oregon City, capital of the newly organized Oregon Territory. Whitman, his wife Narcissa, and 11 others had been killed during a Cayuse attack on the Whitman Mission near Walla Walla two and a half years earlier…..

The defendants were indicted on several charges associated with the attack but were tried on only a single count, that of ‘feloniously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought’ killing ‘one Marcus Whitman’ (Grand Jury indictment No. 11). The trial lasts four days and ends when all five defendants are convicted and sentenced to death by hanging…….

And, it does not speak well for “frontier” justice at that time:

“How the Cayuse made the decision to turn in those five men is not known. There was some speculation, at the time and afterward, that the Cayuse simply gave up five volunteers in order to appease the whites and end the fighting. For his part, Lane (the Governor of the Oregon Territory) seemed unconcerned about whether any of the prisoners had participated in the killings or whether any of the actual attackers had gone free. ‘The punishment of these Indians,’ he told the Territorial Legislature on May 7, 1850, two weeks before the trial, ‘will remove the barrier to a peace with the Cayuse, and have a good effect upon all the tribes’…….

“Oregon City at that time was a frontier town of about 500. The jail was a one-room structure on Abernethy Island, at the foot of Willamette Falls. There was no courthouse; the trial took place in a tavern, crowded with a couple of hundred onlookers. During the jury selection process, on the morning of May 23, the defense issued so many preemptory challenges that the original panel of 24 prospective jurors had to be augmented with people chosen at random from among the spectators. Eventually, a jury of 12 was empaneled and District Attorney Amory Holbrook (1820-1866) began presenting the prosecution’s case……

“The court heard three hours of summation from the defense and the prosecution and then adjourned. In giving his charge to the jury, at 9 a.m. Friday, May 24, Judge Pratt basically said the defendants’ guilt was proven by the fact that the tribe had turned them over to the authorities. As Lansing points out, ‘Today, Judge Pratt’s actions would have been a clear violation of the hearsay rule and the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment confrontation clause: ‘the accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with the witnesses against him’ “‘(Lansing, 151).

The jury deliberated for one hour and 15 minutes before returning the expected verdict: guilty. The defense immediately filed several motions on appeal; all were denied. At 4 p.m., Judge Pratt reconvened the court and pronounced his sentence. He ordered the prisoners to be confined until 2 p.m. on Monday, June 3, 1850, when they were to be taken by the U.S. marshal — Joe Meek — to a gallows to be erected in Oregon City, ‘and there by him be hung by the neck, until you are dead’ (Oregon Spectator, May 30, 1850).”

(History Link Essay No. 9401 – By Cassandra Tate – Posted 4/16/2010: “Trial of Five Cayuse Accused of Whitman Murder Begins on May 21, 1850.” https://www.historylink.org/File/9401)

The story has a woeful ending according to this account in article from MyNorthwest.com by Feliks Banel on 11/29/2-017:

“The Cayuse Five were [named] Clokomas, Kiamasumkin, Isiaasheluckas, Tomahas and Telokite,’ Karson Engum said. ‘They were hung in Oregon City and they were taken off in a cart and they were put either in an unmarked grave or in a mass grave, and at this point, there’s ideas that they may be under a parking lot somewhere in Oregon City or in some not necessarily unknown cemetery.’

Those interested in this story and related history will hear more in coming months as the area in question and adjacent to the Falls View Tavern is part of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project.  While the Whitman massacre was a tragedy, the manner in which the accused were convicted adds to the sad narrative.

Interested parties including the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, various historians and government agencies involved in the project including the City of Oregon City and Metro are involved in bringing more information to light as set forth in this article by Oregon City historian, James Nicita, in the 6/13/18 Clackamas Review entitled A step towards healing: Repatriating the Cayuse Five; author offers theory on gravesite location.”

Photo Attribution

*1  https://www.facebook.com/highlandstillhousepub/photos

/a.442627192277/154748597277/

*2 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:

A_classic_Black_pair_of_Converse_All_Stars_resting_on_the_Black_%26_White_

Ed._Shoebox_ (1998-2002).JPG Author: Hadley1978  at English Wikipedia

*3 – *7 Falls View Tavern Website (https://thefallsviewtavern.com/)

Beerchasing Miscellany – Lockdown Version II

We can still enjoy a pint a home – Ryan Keene exemplifies…

(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.)

In the last post, I covered a number of miscellaneous categories – most of which were not related to bars or breweries, but since my Beerchasing expeditions to new venues are temporarily on hold, please pardon my editorial license

But

As I mentioned in the last post, rummaging through some of my old files has uncovered some “treasures” and elicited some laughs when I harken back.  Consequently, I have reviewed some older Beerchaser posts in light of current events.

The First Tuesday After the First Monday……

One of my first jobs out of the Navy was in the Clackamas County Elections Department where we administered not only the Primary and General Elections, but hundreds of school and special district measures.   Understandably, most citizens have no comprehension on the amount of detail, technology and legal compliance required to manage an election.

On election nights, I still have some empathy for election officials who are trying to maintain the integrity of their systems while concurrently being pressed by print and broadcast media and candidates to give them immediate returns.

While the initial data are always qualified as preliminary and un-audited, that disclaimer is often forgotten.

Back in 1976, when my hair was almost as long as it is now (No  haircut for 4.5 months. ) Norma Paulus then served two terms as SOS.

Oregon Law (ORS 254.056) states the General Election is held as stated on the day in the caption above in even numbered years – and that, my friends is only 109 days away.

Since this is a blog about bars and beer, I typically refrain from political topics, but unless one has been living under a rock for the last 18 months, it’s difficult to stay above the fray.

A Precursor to the “Digital” Age  (Excerpted, in part, from Thebeerchaser May 18, 2017)

And we know from the 2020 Primary, campaign divisive politics will be unceasing and brutal going forward.  It causes wishful thinking about the civility and at least reasonably bipartisanship approach of leaders from past decades that characterized Oregon politics e.g. Tom McCall, Norma Paulus, Hector MacPherson, Vera Katz and the US Congress e.g. Senator Mark Hatfield, Speakers of the House Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill.

Senator Mark Hatfield in his DC office in our visit in 1993

Wendell Wyatt – Statesman and Lawyer

And don’t forget my late friend and law firm colleague, Wendell Wyatt, who served from 1964 to 1975 and was an effective Congressman, a wonderful person and skilled attorney at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt.

 

Yet, based on the nature of the beast, there were times years ago – even in a more refined era (without 24-hour cable news coverage) when emotions overcame propriety – something which lent some humor and excitement to the news.

Such was the case on September 16, 1976, when Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was campaigning with Sen. Bob Dole, who had been selected to be President Gerald Ford’s running mate.

A student in a group of hecklers gave the finger to the VP and he immediately reciprocated the gesture — with gusto!  I’ve kept the picture below from the newspaper for all these years thinking I could use it at some point and the excerpt below describes the incident: 

At the time, Rockefeller’s finger flashing was scandalous and the gesture was referred to thereafter as ‘The Rockefeller Salute.’  Rockefeller refused to apologize for his outburst. ‘I was just responding in kind’ he said, neatly avoiding the point that the apology was not expected to go to the hecklers but to the general public.”

Statesman and war hero with a dry sense of humor

Bob Dole was asked by a reporter why he didn’t join Rockefeller in “the salute”.  “I have trouble with my right arm,” the wounded WW II veteran replied. (Rarehistorical photos.com October 16,2016)

This Beer Really Hops….

And since limited activity during the pandemic results in time to free-associate, seeing that image brought back the memory of one of my business trips in the late ’80’s which I recounted in Thebeerchaser on February 8, 2013. (Excerpted below)

Laura loved frogs in 1990

Thebeerchaser’s youngest daughter, when she was in grade school, had a wonderful frog collection – ceramic amphibians, posters, stuffed frogs, etc.

Each time I had a business trip, I would seek out and bring home an addition to that collection, which grew to be almost 100 in number.

The remnants of a once great amphibian collection…..

On a business trip to Chicago, I consumed an excellent light-colored amber beer from a brewery in Michigan and decided that the empty bottle with the amazing Bad Frog Logo would be a unique supplement to the group of cold-blooded amphibians in my daughter’s room.  The bottle survived a suitcase ride home and my daughter liked it.

Now married and a pediatric ER nurse

Thebeerchaser’s spouse, however, had better judgment – much better! – and you will probably understand why.  She refused to accept my assertion that our young collector did not yet understand the underlying message conveyed by this rebellious frog. 

Jim Wauldron, the founder, was not a brewer, but a graphic artist and t-shirt designer, who created the image and merchandise – but initially – no beer.

The Bad Frog story is quite interesting and you should visit this link to their website to see their story and perhaps even purchase a sweatshirt:

“Well we did learn about beer and started brewing in October 1995.  Then the whole thing went BESERK!  We’ve expanded to 25 states and overseas.  We were BANNED in 8 states.

The banning of the Beer and the non-stop legal battles with each State prevented the expansion of the Beer, but BAD FROG fans all over the world still wanted the BAD FROG merchandise.  We’ve been featured on CNN, CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC. BAD FROG was even featured in PLAYBOY Magazine TWICE.”

From the Bad Frog Brewery

The legal challenges resulted because of the frog’s none-too-subtle extension of its middle digit.  Liquor Commissions in multiple states banned the beer.  Eventually the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the New York State Liquor Authority‘s ban on selling Bad Frog Beer in an interesting and extremely entertaining  First Amendment case Bad Frog Brewery, Inc. v. New York State Liquor Authority 134 F.3d 87 (1998).

Lawyers would love the language from the court opinion which has some great footnotes and includes,“…..(The logo) is patently offensive’ and presumably a suggestion to have intercourse with oneself.”

It appears that one can still purchase Bad Frog merchandise, but the beer disappeared a number of years ago, in part, because of the problems associated with all the legal issues.

The Pandemic

While current headlines are shattering, we can also view many wonderful acts of kindness, sacrifice and charity to help those who have been affected by the virus and these unselfish deeds continue to occur.

A novel of suspense (and spice….)

And though all of this, we need to maintain a sense of humor and optimism and realize that life is filled with joy and tragedy.  I thought a good quote to reflect the ups and downs, was from Joe Lansdale’s novel Bad Chili which I mention in my post entitled Books and Brew published in November, 2018.

The action is innovative e.g. an early encounter with a “vicious, angry, bloodthirsty, rabid squirrel.”  The author’s dialogue is unique and rich with quotes such as this one from Jim Bob Luke, a primary character:

Texas Chili – tasty and spicy ….

“Life’s like a bowl of chili in a strange café.  Sometimes it’s pretty tasty and spicy.  Other times, it tastes like shit.”

Now while the next quote has nothing to do with the pandemic, it always causes me to smile and at least it’s related to bars.   I originally covered it in a 2011 post about one of my first Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter.

James Crumley was a Montana author who taught at both the University of Montana and Portland’s Reed College.  Some critics describe his final book The Last Good Kiss as “the most influential crime novel of the last 50 years.”

Crime Novelist James Crumley

Others maintain that initial sentence of the book is the best first-line ever written in an American crime novel.

“When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.”

Fireball Roberts ??

At the time, I suggested that you could toast Fireball Roberts with a pint of In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen from Flying Dog Brewery in Denver.

It appears that this beer is no longer available but they certainly have some of which Fireball would approve.  (For example, Raging Bitch Belgian IPA at a robust 8.3% ABV – strong enough for any mongrel….)

Cutting to the Chase

With the lockdown, many of us have transformed wardrobes to sweats or “quarantine casual wear” especially when working at home. Even when one has a Zoom meeting, there’s always the tactic of using a landscape or photo as background rather than a live shot.

Second from left in 1968 in Washington DC with then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird

But it is entertaining to see the impact that the absence of haircuts or styling for about four months has wrought.   From the requirement to have “stunted” hair during high school basketball and then during NROTC all during college, my locks have undergone a number of transformations over the ensuing years.

I even tried the beard and mustache route in the late ’70’s because of a misguided belief that it was cool.

Last week, I was scheduled for a haircut and as I pulled into my guy’s parking lot, he called my cellphone with this information:

“Don, I have a story for you.   I got a call one hour ago from a couple whose hair I cut last week.  They have Covid, so I’ve been exposed.   I get tested tomorrow.”

I thanked him for the call and reflected on the good timing and decided to let things stand for awhile.  This sentiment was reinforced after I saw some former male colleagues in a Zoom meeting this week who are of about the same demographic.  One looked like a Mountain Man and the other essentially had bangs, but both looked good.

Go for five months??

My daughters are urging me to continue to let it grow, but for both time management and economic purposes, I’m seriously contemplating returning (maybe regressing) to the crew cut and black Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star High Tops.

According to the Converse website the Chuck ’70 has:

“More cushioning, tougher canvas, same versatility…..is built off of the original 1970’s design, with premium materials and an extraordinary attention to detail…… No reason not to wear them all day, every day.” 

And Finally…..

Even before all of us are able to frequent bars and breweries again when it is safe and permitted, we can still support these establishments by buying their products and using takeout options – many of which are innovative.

A friend with strong knowledge of the hospitality industry stated in an e-mail about watering holes on the Oregon coast:

“The joints are teetering. It really is dire.”

The Old Oregon Tavern in Lincoln City – a classic dive bar

And even in Portland, one of my favorite breweries Old Town Brewing, which I reviewed last year, was forced to temporarily close their Old Town location since many people are not traveling downtown because of the violence occurring with the continuing protests.

Entrepreneur Adam Milne

Owner Adam Milne showed innovation and collaboration with other breweries early on in the pandemic by hosting a Brewers Market  at their second location and brewing headquarters on NE Martin Luther King Blvd.

It’s a weekly assembly of booths offering various breweries’ beers to-go in a drive-thru meets farmers-market setting.  Adam turned the parking lot there into a mashup of a drive-thru and a brewer safari.However, as reported in a July 12th Willamette Week article:

“‘The moment of a temporary closure became, sadly, clear on Thursday when our revenue for the day was $18.75,’ he says. ‘I spent the last week trying to get a rent reduction from our landlord, but was unsuccessful. We really need help from the city. Downtown businesses have been hit especially hard with the high density, vandalism and tents in front of our business.'”

This is just one example and all of us can help support OTB and other small businesses.

Cheers and Be Safe!