The Godfather, Dwight Jaynes —Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

linked-in

“I’ve only known Dwight Jaynes for a little more than 40 years, so I’m still learning about the guy. But as far as I can tell, there’s never been a multi-media person of his caliber in the Portland area. Newspaper, radio, television — Dwight has done it all, and with a far higher degree of sensibility and skill and acumen than almost anybody else.

When they put together the Portland Sports Media Hall of Fame — and it’s high time for that to happen — Dwight will be a charter member.”

Long-time friend and co-author, Kerry Eggers

Long-time friend and co-author, Kerry Eggers

The quote above was authored this month by one of Oregon’s journalism icons – Kerry Eggers in response to a request I made about Dwight Jaynes for this blog.  Dwight is usually identified by the moniker – “The Godfather.”  And what is the background behind this effusive quote from his long-time friend.   Well, the evidence is pretty compelling.

Let’s start with Dwight’s 2010 induction to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and being named as Oregon Sportswriter of the Year five separate times.   (Eggers has also garnered the accolade five times himself.)

 

He has made his mark both as a reporter and editor in the print media, become a familiar presence on radio as a talk-show co-host and analyst and one of the four regular commentators on the Talkin Ball television show following each Portland Trailblazer broadcast on Comcast.   His one-on-one interviews on Comcast’s “Posting Up” with such sports luminaries as Charles Barkley, Phil Knight, Bill Walton and wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper  were also notable.

Dwight at induction to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame

Dwight at induction to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame

In recent years, he’s also made the move to social media with a blog on Comcast and a new podcast with a creative moniker – “The Podfather’s Godcast.”   Oh, and don’t forget his two books – one of which (Against the World) was coauthored with Eggers and the other – The Long Hot Winter – was a collaboration with former Portland Trailblazer player and coach, Rick Adelman.

k-signTo interview Dwight for the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, I suggested a venue for our  lunch that both of us knew well – the Kingston – right across from Providence Park – and most recently known for the after-game celebrations by Portland State Football Coach, Bruce Barnum, who would buy everybody in the house a beer after one of PSU’s victories in his first year (up to a  $500 tab….).

Lunch Interview at the Kingston

Lunch at the Kingston

Kerry Eggers’ quote aptly summarizes why I wanted to “honor” The Godfather as Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter – a Portland native – he graduated from Cleveland High School in 1965.

Most of the narrative will be on Dwight as an interesting guy who cares a lot about his family, his thoughts about his profession and Portland and what he thinks about topics you may not find in articles about him.

And as some background, my past quarterly Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter awards have gone to athletes, military heroes, authors, academicians – most of whom I have met, but not all – for example, the crew of the USS Constitution for their 1798  war cruise.   The person or group “honored” may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars.

Such is the case with Dwight, who told me that he never drinks.  “I used to spend a lot of time in Frank Peters’ Grand Café and the Peters’ Inn downtown when I worked for the Oregon Journal and The Oregonian, because colleagues would congregate there into the wee hours.” 

543442_10151163976179486_1616489476_n-750-sports-talk Although I was well aware of who he was based on his thirty + years as a columnist for the Oregon Journal, the Oregonian and then as the inaugural editor of the Portland Tribune, I first met Dwight based on a failed bid to have lunch with him as part of a benefit in 2010 which radio station 750 -The Game, was sponsoring to help victims of the terrible earthquake in Haiti.   He was then co-host of the morning show with Chad Doing and Antonio Harvey.

I bid $75 and left on a business trip to Chicago. Upon returning, I called and learned the bad news, but decided not to give up.  I enjoyed his insightful columns and his candid conversation on the air about everything from the Blazers to why Portland does not have a Major League baseball team.

So I got his e-mail address and told him that although my bid didn’t make the cut, I would donate a similar amount in his name if he joined me for lunch. After all, a mid-60’s Cleveland grad and a 1966 Oregon City High School grad might have some common interests.  His response was, “You don’t have to do that, I’d be happy to meet you for lunch.” 

waynetwitchell-187x300

Wayne Twitchell – threw a mean fast ball even when he played for Wilson High

From my perspective, that lunch was great – we talked about high school sports figures from that era – Dwight had a great story about facing Wayne Twitchell – the 6’5″ 1966 Wilson High grad who was a fast-balling right-handed pitcher and basketball player for the Trojans.  (It involves being the last batter to face him when Twitchell threw a no-hitter.)

Twitchell went on to pitch for five teams during his ten years in the Major Leagues including one All-Star game appearance in 1973.

Noted Oregon Journal sports columnist, George Pasero

Noted Oregon Journal sports columnist, George Pasero

The Godfather’s anecdotes from working with the icons in sports journalism such as George PaseroLeo Davis and L.H. Gregory,  are fascinating and could fill another book.

About a year passed and a few more lunches and I asked Dwight for a favor. I was working then as the Chief Operating Officer at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm.   Given a number of high-profile Oregon sports issues at that time and his reputation as a journalist and media personality, I  thought our clients would be interested in hearing about his story and opinions about the changing role of the media in sports. schwabe logo

Based on the response from staff when we announced it, we decided to open it to firm personnel as well.  Well, our largest conference room which seated about 120 people, was filled to capacity.

microphone-2Since it was my idea, I was designated to introduce him and his characteristic modesty was typical in my response for information on his background – a two sentence e-mail……That meant I got to do the research and there was no shortage of information since even seven years ago, the search term, “Dwight Jaynes” generated 66,000 hits on Google, including this one by a colleague: 

“To call Dwight Jaynes, Oregon’s Godfather of professional sports reporting would not be an exaggeration.  Dwight has sports – and Oregon – in his blood…..and also in his resume.”

In addition to his resume and awards in articles in the Web, there were plenty of opinions on his work since he is known for his candid and sometimes blunt opinions of the actors and organizations involved in Oregon sports.  According to an Eggers’ quote in a story he wrote about him in the Tribune, Dwight in his acceptance speech at the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame induction stated: “During my career, I’ve offended just about everybody……I’ve had the opportunity and I’ve taken advantage of it.”11210511_943586342366076_862263819731128367_n-talkin-ball

For example, in a 2001 article in Willamette Week about his new job as founding Editor of the Tribune, two on-line commenters lamented:

“Dang, I’ll miss Dwight. He’s a great journalist and columnist.  He always points out the not so obvious, even if it reveals the painful truth.”

“I hope he surfaces soon so he can do what he does best – observe, research and report.”

To which another reader – a guy named Bob, who obviously didn’t like some of his opinions, responded:

“Good riddance.  Jaynes sucks…..!”

The Godfather - Dwight Jaynes -- Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

The Godfather – Dwight Jaynes — Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Well The Godfather was supposed to speak for about 45 minutes at Schwabe that day, but because of the reaction of the audience and considerable number of follow-up questions, he finally was able to get out of there for an interview with Phil Knight at Nike that afternoon after at least and hour and one-quarter.   (And based on the reactions of both clients, attorneys and staff, I was a hero for suggesting the idea for which his honorarium was a bottle of wine…..)

Below are the highlights of our conversation at the Kingston:

Beerchaser:  Okay, let’s get this one resolved early on – How did you get the moniker, “The Godfather,” which seems to be used more these days than “Dwight”?

Godfather: It was about ten years ago when I was working at 95.5 The Game, on the morning show with Chad Doing.   Gavin Dawson, who was the host and now works at CBS radio in Dallas, came up with the label, but initially I didn’t like it.   My brother, however, who has pretty good instincts, told me to “ride it out” and that it was workingIt stuck.

Beerchaser:  You worked with a lot of Northwest legends in sports writing.  Who was the best and who was your favorite?

8-9-15-bob-robinson-sports-writer-speaker-300x216-elder-audience-blog

Sportswriter Bob Robinson

Godfather:  Leo Davis was the best followed closely by Ken Wheeler, who helped me a lot.  Bob Robinson was the best basketball writer and could remember the score of every game he covered.

And writing for the Oregonian in those days was great.   We covered sports and the news very well.  I was able to travel to every major sporting event that I wanted to cover.  (Beerchaser comment:  Those days are unfortunately gone and on one of the four days of the week a subscriber can get home delivery of The Oregonian, the delivery person almost needs to tie a rock to the paper to have enough bulk to throw it…..)

Not afraid to "tell it like it is."

Not afraid to “tell it like it is.”

Beerchaser:  You are known for your candor in writing and broadcasting and willingness to take a position where most of the younger crew throw “softballs” and hold back criticism, evidently to preserve relationships and sources.  An example was your criticism of Mo Cheeks when he coached the Blazers and you were one of the few, if only Portland writers, pointing out his deficiencies as a coach.   Comment on this.

Godfather:  “Telling it like it is,”  didn’t used to be rare as is the case now.   I’ve been around long enough, where it’s expected.  We never used to be friends with the people we covered and now that’s not the case with many in the profession.  The people we covered weren’t our friends for obvious reasons.

In some respects, it’s like the current relationships on the field or on the court.  In fact, I have seen members of the opposite NBA team go over and try to calm down an opposing player when he objects to a call to prevent his opponent from getting a technical and a fine.  That’s a change from the past.  (Beerchaser comment:  Yeah remember Bill Laimbeer and the Detroit Pistons playing the Trailblazers….)

Beerchaser:   What’s your favorite sport to cover?

10400659_131828648784_4116729_n-terry-porterGodfather:  Baseball, then hockey and basketball, although I really have little interest in the NCAA and don’t watch college basketball.  I really enjoyed covering the Portland WinterHawks.

 

Interviewing former Oregon State Beaver football coach, Mike Riley

Interviewing former Oregon State Beaver football coach, Mike Riley

Beerchaser:   What was your best interview and some of the most memorable?  The worst?

GodfatherCharles Barkley for “Postin Up” (http://www.csnnw.com/dwight-jaynesposting-brand-new-show) was my favorite and the best.   He’s an amazing guy.  (We didn’t get to broadcast if for a long time after it occurred because of the delay in getting his waiver signed and returned….)   Magic Johnson and Carl Malone were also great to interview.

Not surprising - best interview!

Not surprising – best interview!

 

Pistol Pete in 1967 - great basketball vision, but poor interview....

Pistol Pete in 1967 – great basketball vision, but poor interview….

The worst was Pistol Pete Maravich early in his professional career with the New Orleans Jazz.  (I then was able to relate my own Pistol Pete story of seeing him after standing in line all night outside Gill Coliseum in Corvallis when LSU played the Beavers on December 22, 1969.)

“It was basketball, Maravich style, replete with 45 personal fouls, seven technical fouls, 68 free-throw attempts, a fight, a player ejection and a crowd of 10,388 captivated by it all.” 

Legendary ref, Frank Buckiewicz, officiated and when the fight between LSU’s forward, Lou Sanders and the Beavs guard, Vince Fritz, started, OSU’s Football Coach, Dee Andros The Great Pumpkin –  came flying out of the stands to try to break it up.  https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Classic+basketball+bout.-a0156085283

Beerchaser:  Your favorite and most respected coaches?

Godfather:   My favorite coach was my Cleveland High baseball coach, Jack Dunn, who is 86 and still lives in Portland. http://portlandtribune.com/bnw/21-news/195802-home-run-hero-jack-dunn.

Legendary baseball coach, Jack Dunn

Legendary baseball coach, Jack Dunn

Jack Ramsey was not only a superb and unique coach, but a Renaissance Man and amazing human being.  When the Trailblazers were in New York, Jack would take in a Broadway play(s) whenever he could.

Mouse Davis, the great Portland State Football coach, also rates very highly based on the breadth of his career and his record – not only did he play football, but his outstanding coaching record in high school (Hillsboro, Sunset and Milwaukie: 79-29 combined record including a State Championship at Hillsboro), college at PSU and Hawaii, and the pros (World League of American Football, the US Football League, Arena Football League, NFL and Canadian Football League). Beerchaser comment: In fact, speaking of Godfathers, “Davis is now widely regarded as the ‘godfather’ of the run and shoot offense.” Wikipedia

Mouse Davis when he coached at PSU

Coach Darrell “Mouse” Davis when he coached at PSU

Beerchaser: I know that baseball seems to be your favorite sport.  Not only have you covered it, but you also played it at Cleveland, helped coach at PSU and worked for the Portland Beavers in their heyday.   Give us some stream of consciousness thoughts about baseball.

Godfather: Some people say, “It’s an old man’s sport,” but it’s big money and very successful on TV.  It’s really one of the last pro sports that most millennials can affordably attend.  Besides, it’s a spectator sport where you can both watch and also interact and have a good conversation with the people you’re there with.  For example, going to a minor league game at the Hillsboro ballpark where the Hillsboro Hops play is a wonderful experience.

Portland should have a major league baseball team, but nobody wants to stand up and be an owner.  (Dwight has also talked in some of our previous lunches about the failure of the City of Portland to show leadership in bringing a major league team to the Rose City.)   The City will not build an acceptable facility like the municipalities who have teams.  That also raised another issue on which he has a strong opinion: “The Memorial Coliseum should be torn down or recycled to create a new facility.  It is not workable as an arena.”

Beerchaser:  Tell us about your family.

10349891_10152841746069730_1108135542922308486_n-daughter-and-baby

Dwight, daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter

Godfather: My son, Will, is a law enforcement officer for the National Park Service at Great Smokey National Park and his wife, Molly,  also works there for the National Park Service.

My daughter, Elizabeth Kulp, lives in Indiana, is raising three kids and is the owner of a small business.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.

Beerchaser:  You’ve collaboratively written two successful books.  In fact, I checked, and you can still get them at Amazon and on the “sale” table at Powell’s – albeit at a pretty cheap price…..! Tell us about them and any more in the pipeline?

With co-author Kerry Eggers

With co-author Kerry Eggers

Against the World: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Portland Trail Blazers Chase for the NBA Championship – November, 1992 (Co-authored by Kerry Eggers)

 The Long, Hot Winter: A Year in the Life of the Portland Trail Blazers – January, 1992 (Co-authored by Rick Adelman) 
With co-author Rick Adelman

With co-author Rick Adelman

Godfather: There is no money in writing a book and it is a grind.  Kerry and I alternated chapters in the second one.   The book with Rick was written in one month due to the need to get it published while people were still interested.  We transcribed reams of Rick’s dictation and notes, which had to edited and fact-checked to meet the Christmas deadline.
I just might have another book, but it would be a novel – a newspaper-related story reflecting the unique and funny people working for that type of organization.
11210511_943586342366076_862263819731128367_n-talkin-ball
Beerchaser:  You’ve talked at some of our lunches about rules changes you would make in the NBA and I think those reading this might be interested in two of them that are kind of unusual.  You know what they are….
Godfather:  They should prohibit the hand slaps or high-fives after a missed free-throw by a teammate because of the amount of time it takes and because it is essentially a meaningless and robotic gesture.  If they are going to be allowed, maybe it’s okay after a player makes the free-throw….
The flop rule implemented in 2012 has had some problems.  It’s pretty subjective when a referee calls a flopping violation resulting in a $5,000 fine for the player after the second violation.  The NBA should review each flop violation after the game and if the referee blew the call, he or she should pay the fine instead.
Beerchaser:  Any final thoughts on your career?
Godfather“The journalism and broadcasting business has changed so much, especially with the presence of social media.  But I understand it, have adapted and love what I do.  My cell phone is a primary tool in the job and makes life a lot easier.  I never thought I would have a personal answering machine…)”
**********
Dwight Jaynes, based on his wide-ranging professional accomplishments, deserves the title, Godfather, but he is also a great guy with a sense of humility and humor.   Check out his blog and his podcast at CSN.

oregon-stadium-committee

Boating ith noted blogger, Jack Bogdanski

Boating with noted blogger, Jack Bogdanski

 bubble-head

A “Frank” Conversation About The Grand Cafe

The Grand Café has an interesting history, both as a bar and as a restaurant.   Thebeerchaser was joined in his recent visit by some lawyers from the Schwabe Williamson law firm’s Product Liability Group – a group of “Boeing 747 pilots,” if one considers former US Supreme Court Chief Justice, Warren Burger’s description of the judicial system: The courtrooms of America, all too often have Piper Cub advocates trying to handle the controls of Boeing 747 litigation.”                              

The Grand - at one time the Union Ave Social Club

The Grand – at one time the Union Ave Social Club

——————-

The Grand is now a partnership and Portland luminary, athlete, bar-owner-entrepreneur (Peters’ Inn and The Habit), independent candidate for governor and former prison inmate, Frank Peters, is officially the “chef.”

Portland appellate lawyer, former “Town Hall” moderator and Oregon Duck, Jack Faust with Frank Peters

“The Grand owns me,” according to Peters, who agreed to show up that night and give our group what turned out to be an interesting tour of this historic venue – one with which he’s been associated for eighteen years.  According to Francesca, one of bartender/managers, “Frank still shows up at 5:00 A.M. each morning. He doesn’t bar-tend anymore and has mellowed in the last few years!”                                

Grand Entrance CloseupBased on some research help from former Oregonian history columnist, John Terry, and recollection by Peters, the original incarnation of The Grand was known as The Union Avenue Social Club (UASC). It dates back to 1926 when “The Club” was at the corner of Union Ave and SE Russell St. and was probably a speakeasy.

After Prohibition, it moved from Union Ave to the present site on Grand Avenue.  The UASC  was revived by Lee Hamblin, (he liked the name) owner of The Pantry – a well-known eatery on NE Broadway.  The next owner was John Asparro in 1966, and according to Frank, later by famous Portland restaurateur, Horst Mager, of Der Rheinlander, Tivoli Gardens, Couch Street Fish House, L’Omelette, Brasserie Montmarte, etc. fame.

The stairs leading to the Cha Cha Room

The stairs leading to the Cha Cha Room

The UASC ultimately flamed-out economically because a fine-dining establishment on the East Side wouldn’t attract patrons.  As one patron stated, “I found the ambiance opulent, the food mediocre and the prices unconscionable.  Never went back.”

This restaurant review from the Women’s Editor in the March 17,1975, of The Oregonian may give some insight :          

“Is it as expensive as people say?  Does it really offer 20 different coffee drinks…..? Yes, it is expensive.  And the special coffees that emanate from the tremendous imported brass espresso machine behind the bar (still there!!) seem endless…..”                             

At one time, monogrammed China and Crystal in this space.

At one time, monogrammed China and Crystal in this space.

 “Lee Hamblin…..after careful renovation and redecoration opened the UASC, perhaps the most frankly posh place in Portland to eat……Sophisticated cuisine, interior décor and service were the criteria……”

“The linens were snowy, the crystal and china monogrammed and fresh roses and candles adorned each table.  Such a meal cost $26 (remember that is a 1975 price!)  per person not including cocktails, wine and after-dinner drinks….Yet as the owner suggests, if money is a serious factor, it likely would be best to dine elsewhere.”

Frank and Francesca behind the bar

Frank and Francesca behind the bar

The bar’s interior reflects its rich history and Frank’s distinct personality – also chronicled in his self-published memoir, “The Frank Peters’ Catalog” written in the Oregon State Prison (where he was rumored to have had an office and a secretary).

After spending 30 months in prison – six of it in the Multnomah County Justice Center in Portland – he had to rebuild his life from scratch. He performed his community service at the Washington Park Zoo, shoveling elephant manure.  He also attended culinary school and earned his certificate from the American Culinary Federation.  His long association with the Grand Café followed.

Francesca with the "Grand" piano - literally......

Francesca with the “Grand” piano – literally……Live music on Saturday nights. (Notice the brass espresso machine on the right…)

Frank’s quirky personality and always creative intellect, may best be gleaned by some of the following anecdotes:

While in the State Prison, he formed The Götterdämmerung Society for the purpose of having the inmate members watch Richard Wagner’s Opera, “Ring of the Nibelung.”

He promoted the event in the prison newsletter with the following: “Seventeen hours of gods, dwarfs, giants, love, betrayal and redemption — a real Oregon State Penitentiary Soap Opera”.……The inmates met in Peters’ cell (D-533) several times before the opera was actually broadcast (on OPB) so they could bone up on a few of the plot twists” (From September 2, 1990 Oregonian column by Margie Boule)

Karaoke at the Grand - may include an occasional opera piece..

Karaoke for all ages every night at the Grand – may include an occasional opera piece..

Viewing the main picture wall is worth a visit in itself!

Viewing the main picture wall is worth a visit in itself!

While managing the Portland Mavericks minor league baseball team, to protest an umpire’s call during a game in Seattle, he stole first base–literally–and hid it in his hotel room. At another game, he rotated the team through the innings so every player played every position.

During his gubernatorial campaign, one of his ideas was to have F-4 Phantom jets from the Oregon National Guard buzz Japanese boats that were trawling in Oregon waters and driving down hauls for local fishermen. His campaign slogan was, “A Vote for Frank Peters is a Vote for America.”

In 1994, the Grand Café held a karaoke contest judged by the Honorable Steven Gallagher–the same judge who sentenced Peters to prison.

The Final Four plaque with Coach Paul Valenti's and Athletic Director, Slats Gill's pictures.

The Final Four plaque with Coach Paul Valenti’s and Athletic Director, Slats Gill’s pictures.

Frank was an outstanding athlete both at Oregon State and afterwards.  He and teammates, Terry Baker, Mel Counts, Jimmy Jarvis, et.al. on the 1962-3 OSU basketball team made it to the NCAA Final Four with a 22-9 record – “We sailed under the radar until Terry returned from the Liberty Bowl in January and then he led our team to March Madness.”

He also played AAU basketball at Claudia’s and then the East Bank Saloon where he played for international AAU championships.  He remembers getting a call in a bar in Key West, Florida from Claudia’s idiosyncratic coach, Walt Spitznagel, pressuring him to show up for the next game. (Bartender after answering phone: “Hey, anybody in this place play basketball in Portland, Oregon?”)

Frank - the short guy in the middle - with fellow East Bank Saloon AAU Teammates and former Blazers Leroy Ellis and Dale Schleuter
Frank – the short guy in the middle – with fellow East Bank Saloon AAU Teammates and former Blazers Leroy Ellis and Dale Schleuter

He even played briefly (“I was a ‘cup-of-coffee’ – for the Orioles – that’s how long I was up in the Majors…”) for the Baltimore Orioles and showed me a letter – he gets about two per month from collectors – with his Rookie baseball card enclosed asking for his autograph.  

Brooks Robinson replacement???!!!

Brooks Robinson replacement???!!!

——————–

The basement of the Grand is devoted to one of its traditions – Salsa Dancing and Andrea’s Cha Cha Club Wednesday through Saturday nights.  Our group even had its own Salsa dance lesson.  “We sell Fun,” stated Peters, “And Salsa dancing is not defined by age,” – our group may have validated this premise!   Andrea, the originator of the Cha Cha Club and one of the partners in the Grand, personally leads the dancing lessons from 9 – 10 PM Wednesday through Saturday night.

"May I cha cha cha to the bench, Your Honor?

“May I cha-cha-cha to the Bench, Your Honor?  (Instruction by Gina)

A Tradition and Still Going Strong

A Tradition and Still Going Strong

—–

The walls leading to the intriguing Cha Cha Club in the basement are filled with additional mementos and photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn

——————–

The Bar Downstairs

The Bar Downstairs

——————–

The Grand has karaoke every night and salsa dancing – you can even get a lesson – see link to the website for the schedule.   There is pub food and a good selection of drinks and beer typical of most bars, but being able to drink those beers in a building which is more than 100 years old and in which the atmosphere evokes memories of old Portland, is definitely worth a visit – or two.

A Tradition at the Grand Cafe

A Tradition at the Grand Cafe

And ask Frank to give you a tour.  He ended this one with his “motivation speech” in which he asked rhetorically, “Do you want to be a victim or a hero?  You decide.”

I have a feeling that there was not much of a cerebral debate on this question by each lawyer to whom it was directed.

Francesca and Frank with Thebeerchaser logo

Francesca and Frank with Thebeerchaser logo

The Grand Café          832 Grand Avenue

Some More About Frank Peters…….

Frank Peters has always been and remains a character.  Those who listened to his recent interview on Dwight Jaynes’ (according to Frank and confirmed by The Godfather – the one-time President of the two-member Frank Peters’ Fan Club when Dwight worked for the Portland Beavers) “Posting Up” program on Comcast SportsNet NW,  can gain insight on his personal philosophy and how it was changed by his life experience.

When I asked about whether it made him angry that part of his prison sentence was for marijuana growing and distribution –  a line-of-work that might as of January, 2013, make him an entrepreneur in the states of Washington or Colorado, he stated, “I’m not mad – I broke the law at that time.”  He also talked about how proud he is of his granddaughter, who is an excellent high school volleyball player at one of the PIL Schools.                                                         

Frank's granddaughter (lower left) and the Cha Cha Group

Frank’s granddaughter (lower left) and the Cha Cha Group….!

                          

Peters’ book – about 50+ pages – an eclectic collection of quotes, observations and anecdotes in a loose-leaf binder with a picture of him campaigning for Governor in Eastern Oregon – warrants additional consideration.   Thebeerchaser offers these quotes as examples of why it was an interesting read.  (There are no page numbers so they are not cited.)

On Portland in the Golden ’70’s — and then the ’80’s

My studio (apartment) at the Sovereign was on the 2nd floor, overlooking the main drag on the corner of Broadway and Madison.  Two large eagles flanked my one large window giving the effect of a speaking balcony.  The Sovereign was a class hotel in the 1920’s, and now it is a historic building with tile bathrooms.  The walls are sound proof with high ceilings.

The Sovereign - also has mellowed with age...

The Sovereign – also has mellowed with age…

On one side lived a violinist with Maybury’s (Peters’ nickname for Portland) symphony, on the other, a premier rock & roll sound system operator.  The Sovereign (was) is home for people on their way up.  Restaurant Managers, students, young professionals, etc.  Eleven floors of unusually unique people – no kids, no dogs allowed.

My problems began the day the lights were turned out at Peters Inn and my other restaurants.  I went thru several bankruptcies and loss of identity – ‘Occupational Hazard, No Occupation at all.’ – Song by Jimmy Buffett….The ‘80’s found ‘No Game Today,’ ‘No More Mavericks,’ ‘Frank Peters Bar-less’ and ‘No inexperience required.’

On Cannabis…

Marijuana is called weed, grass, ganja, bud or hemp.  It’s a plant representing many things to many people.  It’s made of stems, roots, seeds, smell & leaves.  It is used for rope, sails, medicine and sweet dreams…..It grows as tall as a 2 story house, or as dwarfed as a basset hound…..As a green plant, it’s the base of the food chain.

"Raises some philosophical and policy questions
“Raises some philosophical and policy questions

On Time in the Multnomah County Justice Center

On the inside looking out, or is it the outside looking in?  Surrounded by people, yet so alone.  From the eighth floor, I observe people on the street taking care of business, and the construction progress of the new store “Saks Fifth Avenue.  This is the project that replaced my restaurant, Peters Inn.  Not a happy day.

On Prison Life in the Oregon State Penitentiary

Well, I served 30 months – to the day, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I am a better person.  I do not recommend prison; however, if it is necessary the time can be well spent elsewhere.

I was in Salem, with a new set of goals and objectives – Survival.  The title of  Willamette Week’s article was ‘Sex, Lies and Video Tape.’  It could have been worse. Salem was a good place for me to be.

I still don’t know if I have a minimum (sentence) – I don’t know what I have.  How can I complain when there are over 300 lifers, with many never getting out – very heavy.  I signed up for school.  I scored grade level 12 on my tests (English, which is a foreign language to me, held my score down) typical of an OSU graduate….

Home for twenty-four months after six in the Justice Center in Portland
The Oregon State Penitentiary – twenty-four months after six in the Justice Center in Portland

 My life, physically and socially has been on a severe downhill slide for the last six months. Can it get worse?  It seems worse, but at least I know my sentence and I feel a little better.  Then I look carefully at my neighbors; tattoos, weight lifter arms and repeat offender attitudes.  I proceed with caution, great caution and keep my mouth shut as the mood loosens with light conversation.

Then I hear from an immense Black inmate.  ‘Hey Peters, remember me, you kicked me out of your club.  You sure are white.’Well,” I say, ‘I’ve been kicked out of my own club so don’t feel bad.’

“Frank, I would like to ask you to do something for us, but I don’t know how to ask,” explained Grizz, ‘Just ask,’ said Buzz. Grizz gives Bud a dirty look and says, ‘O.K., O.K. – Frank, will you play softball for us?  We are in third place, and our goal is to make the playoffs.  We are the Marauders, sponsored by the Lifers….’  I look at Bud, Bill and Grizz, then I look at the other four hundred plus inmates and made my decision on the spot.  I played for the Marauders.  We won the second half and made the playoffs, I proceeded to go to prison on a softball scholarship. It was fun and the only way to go.

According to Maslow; we seek freedom from fear, food and shelter, love and belonging, ego and self-actualization.  This doesn’t leave a prison person many choices.  Food and shelter are the only absolutes.  Where should my plan focus?  After a few games (mental footwork) with inmates and guards, I decided to self-actualize.  In my mind, self-actualization is borderline fantasy, and everyone in prison lives fantasy.

An attempt to reach the top of the pyramid

An attempt to reach the top of the pyramid

If your mind is on the outside, you believe friends and lovers remain faithful and big paying jobs will be available.  Maybe your mother in truth is faithful – ‘even Hitler had a mother.’  If your mind is on the inside, you do sports, walk the yard, pump pig iron, chase the bag or take big deals.

Self-actualization is self-development, NOT people or system development.  I decided to make prison an adventure.  A plan of self-actualization and a plan to live fantasy.  A practical reality plan to live in Fantasyland.  Oregon State Penitentiary.

PRESS RELEASE – FRANK PETERS  #53381- cont. 08/14/90

…Behind the scenes, Peters dispenses a new brand of counseling to younger inmates.  He challenges rather than gives gratuitous advice, challenges them to find their own path to a better life after prison. Challenges them to seek their own answers, and put their experience to proper use on the ‘outside.’ Whether this approach will save one from a repeat prison term or not, no one will likely ever know.  But it is unique and innovative method that seems at least to spark some favorable response…..

Philosophically Peters declares he’s learned one thing, ‘The person wasn’t bad, their thinking was bad.’ Peters declines to reveal just how he plans this (1,000 hours of community service) but indicates that ‘the real value is to make an overall contribution to the quality of life, something worthy of his energies.  If the journey doesn’t change you, why bother to leave home?’

On the Campaign for Governor

‘Never be neutral in a conflict, whoever wins must destroy the uncommitted’ (Machiavelli, year 1539).  This leaves little room for an independent in power politics.  The game plan was to run a ‘state-wide’ campaign with credibility and open the door for other non-party candidates.  We hoped to split Democratic & Republican votes at all levels and make deals….It destroys the ‘good old boy politics’ and political party ladder.  It opens the door for real democracy.

Machiavelli - some day my Prince will come
Machiavelli – some day my Prince will come

Any concerned person can participate.  Events did not work in our favor.  Four years we campaigned…..in small towns throughout Oregon…..‘A vote for Frank Peters is a vote for America.’ They never knew how close we came to killing their political Dinosaur….The possibilities were awesome….We were serious – Machiavelli serious.

Claudia’s Sports Pub and Grill – Oh the History!!

Claudia’s — A Portland Tradition

The 2007, “Willamette Week “Drinkers’ Bible” described Claudia’s Sports Pub below:

“…The friendly bartender here is steering a ghost ship:  On a Saturday night no one seems to be doing much at this Southeast haunt except plunking cash into an endless sea of video poker machines.  Too bad – the overflowing trophy case speaks of better days.”

Thebeerchaser would suggest that this writer was brain addled – the kind of intellectual lightweight who doesn’t have an adequate appreciation or understanding of history – who would define the Louisiana Purchase as buying a café  latte at a New Orleans Starbucks. Perhaps novelist and academician, John Gardner’s quote is more charitable:

“History never looks like history when you are living through it.”

Sarah with Thebeerchaser logo. My favorite waitress/bartender on the beer tour so far.

And it appears that he was axed or replaced by the Portland weekly as evidenced by reading subsequent reviews in 2009 and 2011 comparable publications:

2009“When all the (athletic) contests are concluded…how do they keep the beer-sodden spectators in their seats….?  Claudia’s, the dowager of Portland sports pubs has devised a resourceful solution:  After the last out, the bar switches to karaoke, projecting lyrics onto its largest screen.  It’s an ingenious idea, not least because it allows crestfallen fans the chance to constructively vent.  Claudia’s needn’t worry:  It continues to pack ‘em in with high def TVs, cheap pints and its claim to fame – high-backed green captain’s chairs lining the bar.”

The Captain’s Chairs – “Full Speed Ahead and Give me a Draft……” Also note the multiple TVs

2011“Claudia’s is the best sports bar in Portland…..Every year it seems like more new, hip sports bars open, but at the end of the day, there’s only one place I want to go when the game is really close.”

—————–

Claudia’s seems like a good and appropriate name for a tavern.  It was named after founder Gene Spathas’ wife.  According to Gene’s Washington High School classmate and SAE fraternity brother at OSU, Oregon City attorney, Don Bowerman, “Gene was a gifted businessman and Claudia Mickelson was an intelligent, classy and beautiful lady.”

The Moniker Fits the Location and the Tradition

It should be noted that naming a bar after a wife named “Mildred” or “Gertrude” would not be a good thing regardless of her attributes.  Claudia was different.

Gene Spathas graduated from Washington High School in 1950 and attended Oregon State University and was an avid Beaver fan.  His obituary stated that although he would never admit it publically, he actually graduated from the U of O in 1958.

He married Claudia and they opened Claudia’s as partners the following year.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Interior – Gene Spathas and his wife opened Claudia’s to be more than just a sports bar.  As their website states, ” (Claudia’s was) developed as a total concept, our purpose is to provide a gathering place that is warm, pleasant and physically and aesthetically pleasing.”                    

The captain chairs are obviously distinctive (although they make it hard to eat a juicy hamburger….).  There are probably more TVs and monitors with more different sports options than most sports bars in the City: We currently offer high-definition (HD) big screen, a number of HD LCD screens, ten satellite receivers as well as a numerous monitors. Claudia’s prides itself in continuing to provide the best in sports viewing.”

Big Screen and Monitors

There were 11 TVs in the main part of the bar including 5 big screen, and five in the back part.  While I sat in my Captain’s Chair and consumed some delicious fish and chips with a Manny’s Pale Ale, I simultaneously watched a Yankee – Red Sox game, saw the Mariners lose another game with less than five hits and gazed periodically at some obscure soccer teams from Europe battle to a scoreless tie.

Sports History Memorabilia – Claudia’s’ is like a mini-Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.  The gigantic trophy case in what is now the poker room is stuffed with hardware from the victorious AAU Basketball and other teams which were a hallmark of the pub for decades. You can also see basketballs signed by John Wooden and legendary announcer, Dick Vitale.

For 25 years, from the early ’60s to the mid ’80s, Claudia’s sponsored the best AAU basketball team in the Northwest. Claudia’s won the Northwest championship so many times, long-time coach Walt Spitznagel lost count according to a column by Kerry Eggers. Thebeerchaser remembers watching former college basketball stars such as Jimmy Anderson, Jim Jarvis, Pudgy Hunt, Vince Fritz, Frank Peters, Chuck Rask and Nick Jones play against rival Dr. Bernard’s for the AAU Championship and in later years OSU guards, Mark Radford and Ray Blume wore the Claudia’s uniform.

A Victorious Tradition

The black-and-white scanned photos on their website give an incredible nostalgic gallery  – I even found my high school varsity basketball coach, Dale Herron, who starred at basketball at U of O (also played football) before he coached at Oregon City High School and then at Olympia (WA) High School where he was recently inducted into their Athletic Hall of Fame. He played for Claudia’s from 1961-7 during which time they won three NW AAU Championships.

——————

No. 34 – Former U of O star, Dale Herron (third from rear left) who coached OCHS to the TYV League Championship in 1966.  Coach Walt Spitznagel is on the right in the second row.

Other sports mementos such as a signed Chicago Cubs jersey and photos provide additional ambiance to the main part of the bar.

——————-

OSU Basketball and Portland Maverick Player and Manager Frank Peters

Seeing the picture of Portland’s colorful and sometimes controversial, Frank Peters brought memories of his former pubs and his present bar scheduled for a future visit on Thebeerchaser tour – The Grand Café.

Playing the Ducks

Gonzaga’s Pudgy Hunt – A Formidable Presence for Claudia’s

———-

——————

——————–

Poker – One change at Claudia’s is the poker games – seven nights each week as can be attested to by the signs below.  The entire large side room is taken up by card tables each night and I was amazed to see seating charts – an indication of a serious approach.  While there appear to be about twenty taverns or more that have poker nights in Portland, Claudia’s, based on a web search, appeared to be the only one with social gaming every day of the week.

And this is serious stuff as evidenced by this excerpt from the gaming rules on their website:

 “No Rabbit Hunting, No Side Bets, Any Shown Cards are Exposed to All Players, No cash on table, Please limit cell phone use. Decisions of the Administrator are Final.”

      ———–                  

The Menu – The pub’s menu is very good for a sports bar.  Beside 12 beers on tap when I was there they have “featured drinks’ such as Claudia’s Margarita and a Citron Cooler.

A Variety of Good Beers on Tap for a Reasonable Price

There are eight different hamburgers, several chicken-burgers, ten sandwiches, pizza, salads and eight “specialties” such as Fish and Chips.  Another nice touch is peanuts available for $1.50.

Gene Spathas was a savvy businessman and also owned the Kitchen Kettle, Beef and Brew and the Steak Skewer restaurants. The tradition initiated by Gene and Claudia Spathas at Claudia’s continues as their son, Marty, a 1980 OSU grad, now manages Claudia’s over fifty-three years later.  It is more than a sports bar and was one of the highlights of Thebeerchaser tour this year.

Claudia’s Sports Pub and Grill                               3006 SE Hawthorne