Beer and Politics – Part 3

Image Courtesy of Pam Williams

Well Beerchaser followers, below is the third installment of my contributions to The Oregon Way Online Newsletter.   I’ve tried to suggest the perfect watering holes for each of the major Oregon Gubernatorial candidates to visit during their campaigns.

The article below was published about Democratic candidate Tobias Read who now serves as the Oregon State Treasurer.

It’s an effort to demonstrate that this Beerchasing environment is ideal for really having a constructive and meaningful dialogue – rather than superficial blathering – with voters in the State.   And I would suggest that this could be a model for candidates not just in Oregon, but in any jurisdiction.

This premise was reinforced just this week with an article in Willamette Week in which they interviewed people in the new Oregon Congressional District about candidate Carrick Flynn, a political neophyte in Oregon, but one who has garnered campaign contributions in the proximity of $5 million from a cryptocurrency billionaire. 

This Yamhill County resident and I have the same thoughts about relating to a candidate:

“‘This gentleman, who’s funding him in the Caribbean? I don’t know if I’m going to see him at my local watering hole,’ says Ramsey McPhillips, a Yamhill County farmer who sits on the boards of four local nonprofits. ‘He just has something to do with the blockchain.’”  (Emphasis added)

The Oregon Way Article

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After eight years when the State should be on a course to crest waves, Oregon has simply been treading water.  Now we need strong Gubernatorial leadership – I’m not suggesting by which party, but the candidates should have the skills to pull Oregonians together.

So, I will continue my chronology of the best taverns/breweries for each major candidate to have a meaningful campaign dialogue based on my ten years of visiting Oregon watering holes.

Democrat Tobias Read has impressive education and experience – undergrad at Willamette U and MBA at University of Washington with private sector and legislative experience before becoming State Treasurer for the last eight years.

That said, Read would be inclined to answer the question, “Do you have trouble making decisions?” with the response, “Well, yes and no!?”  As Jeff Gudman, his opponent for Treasurer aptly stated, “Tobias Read is Oregon’s self-proclaimed financial navigator who does not navigate.”  And based on his actions and statements, Read’s view of the role of Treasurer is not to solve the PERS problem, but just to invest for the best return.

There are two bars that would help Read understand Oregon. The Mad Dog Country Tavern is a wonderful bar in Sawyer’s Landing on Newport’s Yaquina Bay I visited in 2014. 

Pauline, the cordial bartender told us that her “regulars” are people from the adjoining RV Park, summer tourists and Newport residents – a good group for Tobias to meet because they have diverse interests and economic situations and often feel estranged from the power of State government.

My friend, Matt Love, relates the origin of the name in his Letitpour.net blog account:

“….Years ago, a large log rested in front of the tavern.  It had seatbelts attached to it.  In some sort of contest, certain patrons would strap themselves in and then proceed to consume a bottle(s) of a particular brand of fortified wine.  The “winner” remained sitting  upright.  Thus Mad Dog Tavern.”  

The pickled eggs and Reser’s Hot Mama sausages fermenting, in big jars might offend his sensibilities. However,  an oft-quoted Mad Country story about a nearby tough dive bar eight miles east in Toledo perfectly illustrate his equivocation on a crucial timber issue in the area – the Elliot State Forest.

The Elliot State Forest *6

Again from Matt Love: During the 1971 filming of the movie “Sometimes a Great Notion,”

Enter star, Paul Newman carrying a chainsaw, exactly like the hard-ass logger character, Hank Stamper, he happened to be portraying…….Wordless, alone, Newman, who according to various biographies……has at times drank to considerable excess, fired up his chainsaw. 

He sawed the legs off the pool table.  It crashed to the floor.  Stunned logging locals looked on.  They did nothing.  Newman left, perhaps later sending a check to cover the damage. Perhaps not.”  (*7 and *8)

And this story is a perfect analogy for Tobias “cutting the legs” out on his constituents when he changed his position on the Elliot State Forrest – three times – once while a Legislator and then twice more as Treasurer.

He could finish his bar visits at nearby Hoovers Pub and Grill, just south of Newport on Highway 101.  My visit reinforced what I saw earlier at the Mad Dog.  A guy’s wife from the RV Park came in with her husband and handed Pauline an envelope with $125 in it.   She left and Pauline “fed” it to him over the next 45 minutes until it was gone – a regular routine.

Hoovers was Alice’s Tavern in 1978, but that was after the mini-mart, gas station and petting zoo with a live alligator and black bear were decommissioned. We noticed a sign promoting their jello-shots stating, “Jello isn’t just for kids…,” – something maybe Tobias might relate to.  There was also a sign promoting a charter fishing service that disappeared along the way……

As we were having a pint, a kid who couldn’t have been eighteen came in and burned through $70 on a video poker machine in no more than 15 minutes.  As Matt Love write in Letitpour.net:

In 1991 when the Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Lottery to allow video poker in taverns and bars…..it was a frenzy. Then in 2005, line games were introduced into Oregon’s taverns and bars…..

Sure, the pool and darts continue, but these taverns are not the same, and I know because I drank beer in them before they were enlisted by the state to raise revenue from the pockets of vulnerable, occasionally inebriated people.  What is especially sad is to have witnessed how video poker slowly transformed taverns from gritty bastions of independence into de facto tax collectors for the state….Rest in peace Oregon tavern.”

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One also has to ask, what has Read done to mitigate Oregon’s reliance on this regressive and addictive form of tax collection?

Perhaps he should consider the description of former Legislative colleague Mark Hass, who said of Read, “If you play it safe in politics, you won’t make friends and you won’t make enemies and you won’t get anything done. “That’s Tobias.”

Perhaps he should consider the description of former Legislative colleague Mark Hass, who said of Read, “If you play it safe in politics, you won’t make friends and you won’t make enemies and you won’t get anything done. “That’s Tobias.”

Read could consider this while downing a new brew – a Milque Toast IPA – described as “Like Coors Light – Only Without the Body!”

 

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Tobias Read has the credentials and intelligence to make a difference for Oregon. Will interacting with the regulars in these bars and considering their history and ambiance give him and other gubernatorial candidates added insight on how they could make Oregon better? Stay tuned for some additional suggestions.

External Photo Attribution 

*1  Wikimedia Commons (http://*2 Wikimedia Commons )  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Oregon National Guard from Salem, Oregon, United States.  20 September 2017.

*2  Tobias Reed Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=414951043784282&set=pb.100058081688470.-2207520000..&type=3)

*3  Wikimedia Commons – This work is in the public domain in the U.S. because it is an edict of a government, local or foreign. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_State_Treasurer#/media/File:Seal_of_Oregon.svghttp://By Svgalbertian – This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this file:, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6684371

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tobias_Read.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author:  LA for TJR  22 March 2012.

*5  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UW_Tower_from_38th_%26_Eastern.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Author:  SounderBruce – 27 May 2015.

*6  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elliott_State_Forest.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Oregon Department of Forestry – 5 November 2013.

*7  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Newman#/media/File:Paul_Newman_1970.jpg)  By Photographer unknown. Published and distributed by Maron Films. – Scan via Heritage Auctions. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114043860.

*8  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEMA_-_17022_-_Photograph_by_Ed_Edahl_taken_on_10-11-2005_in_Texas.jpg).  This image is a work of a Federal Emergency Management Agency employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As works of the U.S. federal government, all FEMA images are in the public domain in the United States.

*9 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coors_Light_logo.svgThis logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain

 

Newport and Depoe Bay – Thebeerchaser Does the Central Oregon Coast – Part III

An Historic Newport Bar

An Historic Newport Bar

The third day of our Beerchasing sojourn on the Central Oregon Coast, we headed south from Lincoln City to Newport along beautiful Highway 101.  Dave, seeing the boiling foam from the surf stated, “That reminds me of the suds on a brewski and I’m looking forward to a beer.”

P1020630Our first stop was the historic Bay Haven Inn in Newport – a sanctuary over the years to many fishermen and loggers and also the set for the Snag Saloon in the Ken Kesey movie, “Sometimes a Great Notion,” filmed in Newport in the early ’70’s.  The establishment originally had an inn on the second floor – long gone, but the name of the bar has never changed.

Steve, the bartender who has worked there for three years after moving from Montana,  was friendly and helpful in telling us about this classic watering hole – he also shared some scrumptious smoked salmon – worth the trip to Newport alone.

Bartender Steve, Thebeerchaser and my favorite logo

Bartender Steve, Thebeerchaser and my favorite logo

We viewed the varied artifacts in the bar and absorbed the ambiance artfully described by Matt Love in his Letitpour Blog review from the 1990’s:

….beaten-to-a-pulp hardwood floors, fog-light lanterns, sea captain sculptures, deer trophies, a property seizure receipt from the National Marine Fisheries Service, a mounted octopus, an ancient outboard motor, plaques commemorating fisherman perished on the water and lots of wool-wearing, bearded drinkers at 1:00 P.M. on a weekday.” 

Eclectic interior design material.....

Eclectic interior design material…..

We also admired the sign which said, “I’ve been fishing so long, my worm is getting Social Security.” 

The Bay Haven is also the only bar I have visited in almost 100 venues, that had a horseshoe pit in the back – and there was an intense game in progress at 11:00 in the morning.  No corn-hole contests for these patrons!

 Steve told us that during rowdier times, the pit is closed as the horseshoes can become lethal weapons with some inebriated patrons – something that could happen if one guzzled a few of the featured Bay Haven cocktails including the Dead Nazi – (1 oz. Jagermeister + 1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps) a bargain at $6.

Prior to three years ago, they did not serve hard liquor – evidenced by the sign captioned, “Soup of the Day — Whiskey.”  They also have a full menu.

 

Potential lethal weapons for those with blurred vision

Horse-shoes – Potential lethal weapons for those with blurred vision

A final story (“The best drinking hole story on the Oregon Coast for all time…”) from Matt’s blog that should be told, relates to Paul Newman, who directed and was the star of the aforementioned movie:

“….with the cast and crew of the movie staying in Newport, the man (who told Matt the story) drank in a dive tavern in the rugged timber town of Toledo, eight miles east……Enter Paul Newman carrying a chainsaw, exactly like the hard-ass logger character, Hank Stamper, he happened to be portraying…….

Wordless, alone, Newman, who according to various biographies……has at times drank to considerable excess, fired up his chainsaw.  He sawed the legs off the pool table.  It crashed to the floor.  Stunned logging locals looked on.  They did nothing.  Newman left, perhaps later sending a check to cover the damage. Perhaps not.”

What's in a name??

What’s in a name??

We traveled a few miles up the road along Yaquina Bay to Sawyers’s Landing and a delightful and idiosyncratic venue with a name that belies its history.  On the way, Steve saw a fishing boat and said, “Fishing reminds me of hoisting a brewski with friends, I’m looking forward to a beer.” 

And when we sat down at the bar in the Mad Dog Country Tavern, Steve immediately ordered a Sessions – which he fondly described as, “Like Coors Light – only with body.”   

Pauline - a good storyteller

Pauline – a good storyteller

Pauline, another of many cordial bartenders we met on the coastal journey, has worked at the tavern for 3.5 years.  She told us that her “regulars” are people from the adjoining RV Park, summer tourists and Newport residents.

Pauline’s story on the origin of the name of the bar – about 50 years ago –  was similar to Matt’s, but given his diligence with historical details, we will defer to the Letitpour.net blog account:

Historical significance.....

Historical significance……

“….Years ago, a large log rested in front of the tavern.  It has seatbelts attached to it.  In some sort of contest, certain patrons would strap themselves in and then proceed to consume a bottle(s) of a particular brand of fortified wine.  The “winner” remained sitting upright.  Thus Mad Dog Tavern.”  

Aged to perfection....

Aged to perfection….

———————

While we drank our beers and considered how long the pickled eggs and Hot Mama sausages in the jars had been fermenting, Pauline told us other stories.  One was about the wake for one of the regulars named Brenda.  Based on septic tank issues, all of the toilets in the bar backed up the day before the gathering, so they ordered 3 porta-potties, which “accommodated” the mourners that afternoon.

We sat stunned as a resident from the RV park next door came in, ordered a beer and asked Pauline for his “envelope” which she retrieved from the safe and counted out $125 in cash.  He sat down at a video poker machine and about 30 minutes later came back and said he needed the envelope again!

Aside from this one negative, Matt Love’s description stands, “The Mad Dog is so perfect and perfectly American..maybe not for the Drys, but definitely for us wets.”

After a good lunch at Ocean Bleu Seafoods and a walk along the Newport Bay, we made our last Newport stop – an innocuous little bar named Hoovers Bar and Grill – just south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on Highway 101.  P1020652

We noticed an interesting portrait of a women with a semi-exposed breast – allegedly given to the owner by Gracie, the founder of the Sea Hag Restaurant in Depoe Bay and a sign promoting their jello-shots stating, Jello isn’t just for kids…,” , We then were fortunate to hear the history of the bar related by Amy, the granddaughter of the owner.  

A one-time petting zoo -- oh wait.....!

A one-time petting zoo — oh wait…..!

Evidently, the building became Alice’s Tavern in 1978, but that was after the mini-mart, gas station and petting zoo with a live alligator and black bear was decommissioned.

We listened in fascination to a fellow sitting next to us at the bar from Minnesota arguing in a heated cell-phone conversation that he had been promised a gig on a NOAA ship out of Newport as first mate.  We also sat appalled as a kid who couldn’t have been more than 18 or 19 sitting right behind us, burned through $70 on a video poker machine in no more than 15 minutes.

Oh yes, another intriguing sign appeared to be a dated – but authentic – advertising Caroline’s Topless Charter Service,  – a former Newport “sport-fishing” option that offered three-hour expeditions for $75 and all-day trips for $100.  Perhaps this approach to “bosom fishing” ran its course, because the bartender told us they were no longer in business.

P1020655We headed north, and since to that point I had been the designated driver, I said after seeing a pool of stagnant water along the road, “That reminds me of PBR and I’m looking forward to drinking a beer in Depoe Bay.”

We decided to pass on an option to stop at O’Downey’s Irish Pub in Depoe Bay based on the premise that Sheperd’s Pie and Irish Stew might be not be a coastal culinary special, but found our way to a wonderful, albeit dilapidated building just north of Depoe Bay housing The Tide Pool – a former video store and laundromat – now a great dive bar.

Maybe in Dublin, but not in Depoe Bay....

Maybe in Dublin, but not in Depoe Bay….

Our bartender was Vicki – also the owner – and she was emphatic about her pizza being the best on the Oregon coast.  Dave and Steve agreed and their order was faster than the sign posted by the kitchen i.e. “Same day service on most food orders…”

Both of them got into the spirit by purchasing Tide Pool t-shirts.  Vicki told us about going to “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” when she lived in Iowa as a child and her dad worked in a slaughter house……

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The girls resting after a day of charter fishing and conversing with Steve

The mementos and brick-a-brack in the bar was superb ranging from artifacts such as a huge dead lobster from the former Depoe Bay Aquarium to a life raft recovered from the New Carissa, to a picture of three bare-breasted nymphs – a recurring theme in the bars along the coast although perhaps these had been employees of the now defunct Carloline’s Topless Charters.

As Matt Love opined in his blog post, “What a joint!  For starters it was practically a labyrinth with all sorts of weird angles, alcoves and passages.” 

Standing guard

Standing guard

 

 

 

 

 

This included a narrow passage into the video poker and pool room – in which there was a second bar and a battered, legless, facially tattooed, mustached mannequin in a bright red shirt stood guard.

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But perhaps the highlight was what Matt described as “a salt-water glass coffin called the Tank of Death.  It is packed with all manner of marine creatures caught by local fishermen who bucket in their curious finds and dump them in.  Eels, crabs, sea bass, perch, Dick Cheney, octipi and urchins all end up in the mix……….

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Beware — The Tank of Death!

  

According to the bartender, aquatic creatures regularly stage a battle royal to the death and the tank serves as a Roman arena of savagery and merciless predation  – with bets slapped down and accelerated drinking when the water turns a creamy, cloudy red.”   

 

The Tide Pool was one of our favorite watering holes and one to which we will return.  And thanks to Matt Love’s outstanding blog – Letitpour.net – which has not lost its value even though not active anymore.

P1020664Filled with a strong appreciation for the tales and history of the Oregon Coast, we headed north to Lincoln City for dinner – it was Senior Night at the buffet at Chinook Winds Casino….   P1020673

 

Steve, Vicki and Dave with Thebeerchaser logo

Steve, Vicki and Dave with Thebeerchaser logo

 

Buying into the program…..