Fan the Flame at the Firehouse Pub

(# External Photo Attribution at the end of the Post). #1

The City of Lake Oswego is a burg of 40,400 about five miles south of Portland, Oregon.  It’s an affluent locale surrounding the 405-acre Oswego Lake with a prestigious country club and good schools.  The town was founded in 1847 and incorporated as Oswego in 1910. It was the hub of Oregon’s brief iron industry in the late 19th century

The median household income was $108,927 (second in Oregon) compared to $76,554 the comparable statewide figure in 2019.  It houses an educated group as 71.4% of the residents have four year degrees.   (#2 – 3)

Oregon City, where I went to school in junior high and high school was a blue-collar mill town.  OCHS (The Pioneers) and Lake Oswego High School were then in the TYV League and we always had a zealous desire to “Sink the Lakers” – kind of an elitist high school mascot and one you couldn’t sink your teeth into like their competitors – Lions, Dragons, Tigers, Grizzlies and, of course, The Cheesemakers (Tillamook). 


It therefore seems like having a classic dive bar right in the heart of the LO commercial district – at the intersection of State and A Streets would be out of context.  But the wonderful Firehouse Pub is right there and packs them in.

From a conversation with the friendly bartender, Ira, it has a long history although an extensive search of media found no reference, they have no website and their Facebook page has nothing about the origin or annals.  

Photo Nov 26 2022, 5 46 29 PM

Ira did say that they were lucky to survive the pandemic and the bar was closed for two years during pandemic events. One other person said that the bar was once named “Cheers” and the owner is a tax accountant who just enjoys owning a dive bar.

By contrast, the Gemini Bar and Grill, owned by Lordean Moran is only one block away around the corner on State Street and is a notable drinking establishment, but much different from the Firehouse. 

The Gemini, which I reviewed in Thebeerchaser in 2019, has expansive space for bar and table seating, pool tables and a stage for jazz and other musical gigs. The performers play to sold-out crowds on most weekends. 

“Since 1982, The Gemini has been the premier live Music Venue in Lake Oswego.”

2017-10-26 19.04.53


The Firehouse Pub has a cozy hole-in-the-wall ambiance. This 2014 Trip Advisor review is apt:

“This place offers a respite from the other establishments in the LO area. One can just cozy up to the bar and order from their wide arrange (sic) of beverages and enjoy some quality time. The décor is, surprisingly, firehouse themed. (Note: Of course, this begs the question, given the name of the establishment, why that surprised her!)

The staff goes above and and beyond to make you feel at home and create new cocktails for you. The food menu is simple and unpretentious. I highly recommend this place to relax.” (#4)

There was one interesting reference in the news media about the bar which went back to 2015:

“A Lake Oswego woman who received a courtesy ride home from police officers last week was arrested after driving her car back to the Firehouse Pub, police said.”

Since the Firehouse does a good job celebrating events ranging from the Super Bowl, to Mardi Gras to the Kentucky Derby, I thought it would be enjoyable to hit the watering hole after the Oregon State vs. Oregon Civil War Game on Saturday November 25th with my friend, Rus Jordan.

Rus Jordan 1967

As is the tradition with other Beerchasing companions I introduce for the first time, some background below on Rus is below and he’s an interesting guy.  I first met Rus about five years ago when we were in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).

 I thought it appropriate to celebrate the Civil War Game because Rus was not only a fellow midshipman at Oregon State (one year ahead of me), but a member of the famed Oregon State Giant Killer Football Team in 1967.  He was in the Sigma Nu fraternity and I was an SAE and we didn’t know each other in college.  In retrospect, given the challenge I had in second-term Calculus, that’s too bad as I would have hired him as a tutor….

Rus is a great example of the guys on that legendary team as described by my fraternity brother and friend for many years, Jud Blakely, a foremost authority on that ribald group:

“The Giant Killers of Oregon State. Epic. Recalled so often––and honored so often––for all the right reasons.  You were ‘grace under pressure’ again…and again…and again.  You were the Laws of Physics in action again…again…again.  You epitomized the marvel of a ‘team.’”

Rus, like the other members of that team I’ve featured in Thebeerchaser including Craig “The Dude Hanneman (1968), Billly “Rabbit” Main, Duane “Thumper” Barton and Gary Barton (1968) – Thumper’s Brother.

They were not only outstanding athletes, but possessed admirable character and integrity.  (Photos left to right clockwise below- Jud Blakely, Craig Hanneman, Billy Main and Duane and Gary Barton) 

Rus graduated from Beaverton High School in 1965 as a three-sport athlete – football, basketball and track.  He played linebacker and fullback and was a member of the Metro-State Shrine Football Game the year he graduated. (I might add that one of Rus’s traits is his modesty – I had to coax this biographical info out of him!)

Like current Beaver Football Coach Jonathan Smith, Rus Jordan was a walk-on at OSU, made the team and earned a tuition scholarship his last two years in college.  The Viet Nam War was raging at that time and Rus enrolled in the two-year NROTC program.   His teammates, Billy Main and Duane Barton were also in that NROTC class.

Upon graduation in April, 1970 Rus was commissioned as a Navy Ensign and reported to Communications School at Newport, Rhode Island. He subsequently served on the USS Taluga (AO62) based in Long Beach on the West Coast. 

The Taluga was a Cimarron-class fleet oiler acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. (It’s shown refueling the USS Iwo Jima in the  photo below). (#5)

After teaching for a year at Sheldon High School in Eugene where he was also an assistant football coach following his discharge from the Navy in 1972, he went to graduate school at both the University of Oregon and Washington State University in Pullman where he was awarded his Master in Math Education

Rus then worked for two years at The Navigators – an International Christian non-profit, followed by Multnomah Bible College while concurrently serving as football coach at Portland Christian High School.

He jokes about “fully employing” his degree for the next eleven years as a products plant manager for Georgia Pacific making doors including tasks such as driving a forklift – a job he loved.

But anyone who gets to know Rus, will discern that he has a heart for teaching and natural skills in education.  He taught math part-time at Portland Community College for five years while also driving charter buses for Raz Charter and working at a resort in the summer before becoming Vice Principal at Portland Christian High School for four years.

After getting married in 1998, teaching high school math while assistant coaching was his full-time occupation for a combined total of fifteen years at Century High School (5 years) and then Hillsboro High School (10 years).

Rus has some artistic talent and would generally give his class a warm-up problem with an illustration projected on the board.   This inspired one of his students to respond with his own illustration:

He returned to PCC as an adjunct prof and still teaches one or two math classes each term.  Exploring the internet allowed me to find out some opinions of his students on his teaching ability. 

Now anyone who has either viewed one of the Rate Your Professor sites knows that most of the reviews are negative.  College kids are too preoccupied to participate unless they have a gripe about the prof and/or want to warn others.  I was therefore astounded to see following distribution of the 72 ratings:

Awesome (56)     Great (11)    Good (2)    OK (2)     Awful (1)

Rus could provide the standard deviation of these stats, but what’s more interesting is to click on the link above and see the comments – all from 2018-2022 – a few which are shown below:

“Rus was honestly one of the best, if not the best, math professors I’ve encountered. He is very kind-hearted and his teaching is very clear. He always cracks jokes and his way of teaching makes the class easy!”

“I love Mr. Jordan. He is a sweet, caring man who genuinely wants his students to succeed. He’s full of cheesy jokes; he helps take the stressfulness away from math. He is positive and always accessible, willing to come on days he’s not scheduled to. He answers any and all questions without hesitation and his quizzes and homework are great cushions!”

“Rus is an absolutely AMAZING teacher! He’s kind and patient, and genuinely wants to see you succeed. If you get something wrong he’ll tell you why and then give you another way to look at it. His experience really shows in his teaching style. He always tells random, funny little stories, making the whole class laugh. Go out of your way to get Rus!”

(The awful rating was by a guy who flunked his course and not because he didn’t like his sense of humor – or at least he didn’t mention that.)

“Absolutely AMAZING teacher”

Back to The Firehouse

When we decided to meet at the Firehouse after the game, I told Rus to avoid making any cheesy jokes like the student referenced.  (You can get beaten up…..) Given the score at the end of the third quarter, we almost decided to skip the fourth and meet earlier, but fortunately waited and saw a memorable Beaver comeback and victory.

The bar was filled – almost all of them Beaver fans based on their attire and conversations.   I looked towards a crowd of them, pointed at Rus and said, “Go Beavs! And this guy was even a member of the Giant Killer Football Team.”

A young guy in the group said, “I played football for OSU too – a kicker,” so I got a picture of Rus and Quinn Doan, now a regional sales director for a health-care education firm who graduated from OSU in 1999.

We drank our cheap beers – not too many on tap, but when one can get PBR on tap – that’s fine.  They have a limited menu as seen below and the food gets mixed reviews, but it’s fine for a dive bar. 

We sat next to a nice guy who was a 1998 University of Washington grad named Mike Strand.   He then got an MBA at Carnegie Mellon and is now a technology consultant.  Mike is a regular at the bar and agreed to take our picture. 

The Firehouse has a nice ambiance, friendly staff and is worth a visit.   I’ll close with another good summary from a Yelp review which conveys this well.

“If you are looking for a solid drink and good people in Lake Oswego, you need to go to this place.  It’s a dive bar– nothing fancy.  But the people you meet here are simply the best.  Many neighborhood regulars greet you with a smile and, after you know them, a hug.  There are lots of laughs to be had and you can enjoy video poker or a game of pool.

The staff here make sure its homey.  After one visit, most of them will remember your name and your favorite beverage….. I heartily recommend it as a chill place in a town that can sometimes be a little cold and hoity-toity.”

Merry Christmas from Thebeerchaser!

External Photo Attribution

#1. Wikimedia Commons (  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Patrick Hendry  6 November 2017.

#2.  Wikimedia Commons (File:Lakewood Bay Oswego Lake.jpg – Wikimedia Commons) Llicensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unportedlicense.  Author: Esprqii 2 April 2008.

#3.  2014 Winning Photos | City of Lake Oswego

#4. Firehouse Pub Facebook Page (

#5.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (  This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.  Source:  US Navy.


Beerchaser Miscellany II

One Year of Touring Taverns, Pubs and Bars and Still Going Strong

Thebeerchaser Tour – One Year Anniversary

It has been one year since Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland Bars commenced.  During that year I have reviewed 23 bars, pubs and taverns and the original premise for taking this journey has been confirmed — each bar has had its own personality, ambiance, flaws and character.  From the first stop – Brooklyn Park Pub (August 2011) to Lutz Tavern (July 2012) and even the one in Washington (Pourhouse – August, 2012) – all have been worth the visit.

As a result, I strongly disagree with the quote from a review of one of the bars I visited:

“I’m beginning to understand the formula for what constitutes a popular bar in Portland….Make it dark, create some reason for the service to suck and make PBR cheaper than soda….”

Good – But Doesn’t Make the Bar Necessarily Great

Because of the sheer number of Portland bars, my original guidelines were to visit a bar from each letter of the alphabet and then restart the cycle; however, I have thrown that practice out.  I go where you suggest or where I happen to see bartenders, bar stools, PBR or microbrews sold, etc. ……The guideline of reviewing only Portland bars also fell by the wayside when I reviewed Pour House – a Port Townsend establishment.  It was too good not to share and I will occasionally do future non-Portland venues.


During the last year, seven Beerchasers-of-the-Month (or Quarter when I get lazy) have been designated – an “honor” for which the person may or may not have a direct or indirect with beer or bars – I just wanted to tell you about them.  They include:

Craig Hanneman – Former OSU and Pittsburgh Steeler Football Player and Business Executive

The Crew of the USS Constitution

PSU Economics Professor, Dr. John Walker

Retired Oregonian columnist, John Terry

Author Dr. Frankfurt – Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeto

Dr. Harry Frankfurt, Author of On Bullshit             

Crime Novelist James Crumley *

Four Portland Bartenders

Retired Chemical Engineer, Harold Schlumberg

* Crumley, a now deceased Montana writer, had an affinity for bars and beer (and gin) and was credited by some reviewers with the best opening line of any crime novel.  From his book, The Last Good Kiss:         

      “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.”                  

Drinking Buddy — Fireball Roberts

After reading another of his novels – The Mexican Tree Duckone gets a taste for Crumley’s perspective:

“I went through so much help that I actually hired a woman so drunk that she had forgotten that I had fired her the week before.”

Noted Crime Novelist


Bar Joke Update

Occasionally, I have posted a few bar jokes from my collection.  This month’s selection is timeless – so to speak….:

“The past, present and future walk into a bar —

 It was really tense…..”              

It’s All Relative….

Becomes “light” headed when he drinks too much!

% * @ + !




What Distinguishes Portland Besides Its Beers and Bars?

Voodoo Donuts, of course –

Brewer’s Inspiration

and as The Week, a national magazine in its August 17th issue reported on the new Rogue Brewery  Voodoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale. “This brew combines the flavors of wood-smoked malts and real maple syrup and bacon to create a ‘smoky, porky, nutty’ taste.”

Do you want pancakes or hasbrowns and eggs with that beer?

Makes Thebeerchaser wonder if he should stick to Keystone Light….!

Phoenix Sign

This sign from our visit to a bar named “The Speakeasy” in Phoenix last spring was worth sharing:

John Mansfield Update

A good friend and one of my favorite lawyers and former colleague, Schwabe Williamson and Wyatt’sJohn Mansfield, accompanied me on my visit to Mock Crest Tavern last May.  John is a patent lawyer and one, like many lawyers, who is extremely literal as contrasted to literate.   For example, after reading the phrase in the Mock Crest menu, “Breakfast Served – Any Time,” he tried to order “French Toast from the Renaissance Era.”                      

John and Hanna

Since our visit, he turned 50 and had a wonderful birthday party planned by his wife, Hanna (“John Mansfield Goes to L”) – As pointed out previously, John is a Renaissance Man having majored in music at the U of O before getting his law degree Magna Cum Laude at Cornell.  Highlight of the evening was John dazzling the crowd with classical (Dvorak) and then some more contemporary George Gershwin selections on the piano.

The Piano Man Will Also Prosecute Your Patent

He revealed to me another example of an attorney’s tendency to be literal causing a problem.  “A lawyer walking to the courthouse is waiting at a corner for a “Walk” signal next to a German Shepherd and a teenage boy walks up.  The boy asks the lawyer if his dog bites and the lawyer says “no,” so the kid leans down and pets the dog, who promptly sinks his teeth into the kid’s arm.  The boy says to the lawyer, “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite.”  The lawyer responds, “I did.  That’s not my dog….”

Not the Lawyer’s Dog…..

I was glad that John related this tale rather than that of the lawyer he knows whose last case was Budweiser.


Phoenix Sun – Not!  And Speaking of Keystone Light….

Most basketball fans know that former Phoenix Suns guard, Steve Nash, was traded to the Lakers recently.

I loved the story from his first trip to SmogTown.  Some fans, saw him driving down the freeway.

Rates a Keystone Light Before Even Playing……

They recognized him in the back seat of his chauffeur-driven vehicle and shouted to  him when they pulled up beside him – both vehicles still traveling at full speed.  As the story goes, they proceeded to hand him a Key Stone Light, which he said he appreciated.

Perhaps when he has his first good game, he’ll rate a Stella.

Beerchaser of the Quarter – Summer 2012 – Craig Hanneman — “The Dude”

The Dude

The Dude in Uniform in 1970 at OSU

According to the 2010 US census, Turner, Oregon had a population of 1,199.  In 1949, the population was not dramatically different .  Gas sold for 17 cents per gallon, the Dow Jones reached a high of 200, 45 RPM records and NATO were both rolled out.


Craig Hanneman was born in Salem.  He grew up in Turner and the population may have jumped by the equivalent of 2.5 people.  That’s because his accomplishments as an athlete, business executive and family man in the next 63 years would exceed what many individuals accomplish in a lifetime.

For those who are bored or with a morbid sense of curiosity, Turner was incorporated by the  Oregon Legislature in 1905 and has a total area of 1.6 square miles. Its motto – “The Good Neighbor Town.”

Incorporated in 1905

Craig recently stated, Turner had one sawmill and two taverns but no medical facility, so I was delivered in the big city of Salem. I went to Cascade Union H.S. for three years  but transferred to South Salem my senior year.”

Cascade Union High – Where Hanneman First Played on the Gridiron

Former OSU All-American tackle, Olympic wrestler and Craig’s future SAE fraternity brother, Jess “Froggie” Lewis, also went to Cascade Union High.

All American and Olympian

Hanneman’s taste for our favorite beer – “Blitz – at Price’s Tavern in Corvallis, helps to earn Craig (hereafter “The Dude”) the August Beerchaser of the MonthHowever, his off-season exploits at Prices and other long gone venues such as Don’s Den and The Peacock (it seems to be the only pub we frequented that is still around) are overshadowed by other contributions to his athletic teams, state and his recent high-profile exploit shown below:

Mt. Everest 29,029 Feet in Elevation

For in May, Craig become the first former (or for that matter, active) NBA or NFL player to successfully reach the summit of the world’s highest peak which equates to 2.6 times the elevation of Oregon’s Mt. Hood.

This 2012 Mt. Everest climb literally capped a mountaineering hobby started when Craig turned 50 and climbed Mt. St. Helens with football buddies, Mark Dippel, Scott Freeburn and Bob Jossis and includes reaching the top of Mt.McKinley in Alaska and Mt Vinson in Antarctica (and perhaps Mary’s Peak back in Corvallis.)

Accommodations on the Ascent

Thebeerchaser (known as “Dirt” in college) was privileged to be Craig’s SAE fraternity brother, and in 1969 was even his room-head in a four-person study room in which we became much better acquainted.  In college I was about 5″10″ and weighed 140 pounds dripping wet, so you can see by the relative comparison below that The Dude’s athletic prowess as a defensive tackle was due to speed, quickness and desire rather than bulk…..
“Dirt” (aka Thebeerchaser) and “Dude”
First let’s look at his athletic accomplishments:
Oregon State:  Defensive tackle from 1968 to 1970 under legendary Coach Dee Andros.  Some of the awards include Rookie of the Year and culminate with being named Team Captain and Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1970.  In the Cal game, he had 13 tackles!        
He was 2nd Team All American and First Team All Pac 10 and All Coast in addition to playing in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, the All America Bowl and the College All-Star Game.  In 1992, he was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of  Fame.
NFL: Although his career was relatively short (1972-76) because of injuries, he played for the Steelers in the 1972 Divisional Playoff Game against the Oakland Raiders – a contest most remembered for the “Immaculate Reception” by teammate, Franco Harris. The Dude’s anecdotes about Harris, Mean Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw are very entertaining.  He also played two years for the Patriots.
Besides his Mt. Everest accomplishment, another “first” for the The Dude was in 1970 in Dr. Ed McGrath’s upper-division political science seminar .   That’s when he and teammate, Mark Dippel, a starting guard on the OSU Football Team, became McGrath’s first students to chew tobacco during class. McGrath, who was my advisor and always glared at me because I walked into class with the “chewers,” at least appreciated the fact that they used a pot-pie tin for the residue……..

Chew in the Context of Political Theory


His fraternity brothers will also remember the restraint he showed after being bitten in the shoulder (three stitches required) by a Sigma Chi center in the C-Team Intramural Basketball Championship Game at OSU.


Craig absorbed the lessons from Dr. McGrath’s and other classes at OSU because he had a very successful business and political career after his NFL Days.  Perhaps the best summary from the following excerpts in a testimonial by Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden, from the September 28,2008 Congressional Record:


“Hanneman didn’t exactly coast into the next chapter of his professional life when his football career concluded.   Craig owned and managed a 200 acre farm and forest operation in Polk County, Oregon for seven years after his NFL career, where he honed his expertise in the agricultural and natural resource arena.

Craig was elected County Commissioner of Polk County in 1985, and his determination and inclusive ways were instrumental in eliminating an inherited county budget deficit and establishing a $1 million reserve fund without levying new taxes

Throughout 12 years at Willamette Industries (as Director of Public Affairs), 2 years at the Weyerhaeuser Company (which bought Willamette Industries in 2002), and 5 years at Oregon Forestry Industry Council, Craig has achieved a tremendous list of accomplishments and established a sterling reputation throughout Oregon and his industry nationally as a highly effective and inspiring leader of great integrity.

 Madam Speaker, as you can see, Craig Hanneman is a special leader. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t note that Craig is also a great family man. Craig and his wife, Kathy, an educator, have been married for 34 years. Together they have raised three outstanding and successful children. Molly is a public servant here in our nation’s capital, Paul is an Army Staff Sergeant serving his second tour in Iraq, and Annie is a junior at Oregon State University.”                       

Tribute From a Republican Beaver…

However, let’s finish with a little bit more about the Mt. Everest climb.  I quickly learned when rooming with him in 1972, that Dude had an obsession with Dean Martin.  I learned, through endless repetition, the lyrics to “Thirty More Miles to San Diego” and “”Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” which to this day periodically return during night sweats.

And as a recent e-mail from Craig attests, it may have been some of the “conditioning” he got in Room 2 at the SAE house that helped him in  his climb:

“Okay, I’ll admit it, all those late night sessions playing “flinchies” (that’s another story…..)really hardened me up to climb Everest!   And to prove some things never change, you’ll be pleased to know I had plenty of Dean Martin tunes on my iPod Nano to help drown out the noisy wind at night.”                                              

Thirty More Miles to San Diego or 7,500 More Feet to the Summit…


Another climb issue worth noting was the MIA Flag that Craig carried and planted at the Summit.

“My son is an Army 10th SF Group guy and he and his team are very supportive of what the MIA flag stands for. So I flew it in Base Camp for over a month and carried three to the summit. I planted one and brought two down. I gave one to Paul’s 10th Group and the other I would like to give to a POW-MIA organization so they can have the first MIA flag that flew on top of the world to honor those who never returned.”

Craig and the Sherpa, Phunuru, plant the MIA Flag on the Summit


Mike, Heidi (fellow climbers) and Craig

Mt. Everest, Lhutsa and Nupte from Pomoroi

So What’s Next??

Who knows what the Dude plans to do next.  Based on his Everest Climb in 2012, however, and his trip to Pamplona, Spain in 2011, where he and four other former defensive lineman on the 1970 OSU Football team Ran with the Bulls, he’s not going to be passive.

The Dude, Scott Freeburn, Mark Dippel, Jim Sherbert and Bob Jossis drink beer after their run in Pamplona

SAE’s at OSU in 1969 (Hanneman 3rd Row up on Left)