2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Year: Janet Dancer Williams

2014 Beerchaser of the Year, Janet Williams

2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Year, Janet Dancer Williams

After publishing this blog for over three years and periodically recognizing various individuals or organizations as Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, events dictate the establishment of the first Beerchaser-of-the-Year Award – and it will now be a yearly happening retroactive to 2014.

Janet (usually a wine drinker) and Thebeerchaser
Janet (usually a wine drinker) and Thebeerchaser

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulsom Brew Pub

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulton Brew Pub last year

Thebeerchaser blog posts have  “honored” individuals who are war heroes such as my good friends, Jud Blakely and Steve Lawrence; authors such as Northwest icon, Brian Doyle, deceased mystery writer James Crumley and the venerable Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the marvelous tome On Bullshit

Lt. Jud Blakely USMC in Viet Nam in 1965

Lt. Jud Blakely USMC in Viet Nam in 1965

Harry_Frankfurt

Princeton Professor and author, Dr. Harry Frankfurt

 

 

 

 

 

 

———–

Since I worked with  attorneys for many years, some of the Oregon stalwarts in the profession such as Schwabe’s Jack Faust and Stoel Rives’ Jim Westwood have been designated.  And then there are some more creative picks such as the Crew of the USS Constitution and retired chemist Charles Schlumberg.  For you Seinefeld fans, the venerable Art Vandelay made the list and even former Beaver coach, Mike Riley and his 2012 football team, for their performance — at least after the first six games……

Former Beerchaser of the Quarter - Oregon appellate lawyer, Jim Westwood.

Former Beerchaser of the Quarter – Oregon appellate lawyer, Jim Westwood.

 

But the omission of any female Beerchaser honoree is glaring, especially since there are many worthy of the recognition.  Although this situation will be rectified in 2015, none have made a more lasting and significant contribution to Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs than my wife of 35 years, Janet Dancer Williams.

A hike in Breckenridge

A hike in Breckenridge

Although our first date in 1979 after an Oregon City Planning Commission meeting (where we first met) was having a beer, Janet is a wine-drinker.   Notwithstanding that, she recently accompanied me to eighteen bars and microbreweries in twelve days on our Colorado trip and was a great companion as we integrated our tour of the wonderful Colorado scenery with Beerchasing in some of the great brewpubs. P1020965

In fact, she was responsible for our VIP tour of New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins – arranged after she met Shawn Hines, one of the executives and his wife, Allison, at the Dundee Hills Winery earlier this year.

She tolerates the hours I sit at my computer researching and writing about the watering holes and only once in awhile accuses me of being preoccupied and not listening to her — at least that’s what I think she’s said……

Jamie and Lisa Williams Magnusson, Laura, Don and Janet Williams with Sullivan

Jamie and Lisa Williams Magnusson, Laura, Don and Janet Williams with Sullivan

And besides her support for Beerchasing, she is a wonderful wife, mom to our two daughters and grandmother (Mimi).

We survived two terms of graduate school Data Analysis in the same class at Portland State University right after we got married in 1980.  We still laugh about negotiating who would stand in line on Saturday mornings to run the computer program at Shattuck Hall and who would stay home and clean the bathrooms.

Memories of Shattuck Hall on the campus at PSU
Memories of Shattuck Hall on the campus at PSU

 

Janet is a native Oregonian, born in McMinnville where her dad, Joe,  was City Manager for 26 years – Joe Dancer Park is named in his honor.  She is a Duck, having graduated from the U of O in 1976 and went on to earn her Masters-in-Public Administration at PSU in 1984.

Mu logo

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She had an outstanding career in local government (Assistant City Manager in both Oregon City and West Linn) and then worked in Human Resources at Nike before becoming the Vice President for Human Resources at Marylhurst University – a position which she held for twenty years.   During that time she also served on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations.

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Janet with Barb and John Senger at The Sink in Boulder

 

Now back to her role in Beerchasing.   She first accompanied me in 2011 to the Coalition Brew Pub, which she loved, but the enthusiasm was not forthcoming that same night when she returned with me and our son-in-law, Jamie, for my second visit to the first bar I reviewed.

That was the Brooklyn Park Pub, a great neighborhood bar.   She asked me afterwards, “Beerchaser (she only calls me that when we are in bars), why do you go to dives like this, when there are so many other good bars?”

She was not agreeable with my response (originally authored by an unknown expert) when I stated, “Janet, these bars are just like hanging out in our own living room —- if our living room were a dingy dive full of strangers.”

On the Mediterranean in Italy

On the Mediterranean Sea in Italy

We have had some wonderful retirement travel together to National Parks, European museums and cathedrals, Spring Training in Arizona, an Alaskan cruise and a Rick Steves’ Best of Europe Tour.

On the Rick Steves' Best of Europe Tour

On the Rick Steves’ Best of Europe Tour

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Hiking in the Colorado aspens

And with cheerful (and sometimes restrained enthusiasm) she has gone with me to a number of bars including the Muddy Rudder, Lutz Tavern, Bazi Bier Brasserie and Saraveza in Portland and to the eighteen aforementioned venues in Colorado.

Don’t forget the Devils’ Forest Pub (Venice) and Café Karpershoeck (Amsterdam) and last summer Humpy’s Ale House in Alaska to Roadhouse 101 and the Snug Harbor Bar and Grill on the Central Oregon Coast.

Beerchasing at Saraveza in Portland

Beerchasing at Saraveza in Portland with Mary Maxwell and Roy Lambert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—————–

Thank you, Janet, and please accept the bottle of 2011 Penner~Ash Pinot Noir that I bought you.  I figured that you would appreciate it more than a case of PBR – a great gift you might consider for me on our next anniversary.

March 30, 1980
March 29, 1980

Steve Lawrence – Mayor of the Dalles and Beerchaser of the Quarter

The Dalles - West from the City's official website.

The Dalles – from the City’s official website.

The Dalles, with a current population just under 15,000 people, incorporated in 1857 (as The Dalles City) is one of Oregon’s most historic cities on the Columbia River.  It was known earlier in its history as the town at the end of the Oregon Trail.  Archeological evidence suggests the area has been inhabited more or less continuously for more than 10,000 years.

Steve Lawrence is now the Mayor of The Dalles and fits the ideal profile as a chief elected official – one you would expect of any of the towns listed in Small Town Gems of America which to illustrate, include Red Wing and Stillwater, Minnesota; Guthrie, Oklahoma and Cody, Wyoming.

Steve Lawrence with 2014 Beerchaser of the Quarter and his good friend Jud Blakely

Steve Lawrence with 2014 Beerchaser of the Quarter and his good friend Jud Blakely

He and his twin brother were born in 1945 and graduated from high school in The Dalles, where the future lawyer was a three-sport athlete – wrestling, track (held his high school’s pole-vault record twice) and football (he was a 146 pound starting center.)

Steve went to Boise Jr. College and ended up enlisting in the Army in 1967, which of course, meant a trip to the Republic of Viet Nam.  He was selected for Officer Candidate School and because of his linguistic skills, was promised Russian Language School, and in a series of events that remind one of Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 – after training at Ft. Benning he ended up commanding an infantry platoon in Viet Nam where he was decorated for heroism in combat.

2nd Lt. Steve Lawrence

2nd Lt. Steve Lawrence

We were joined that day by another Viet Nam hero – Jud Blakely, awarded the Bronze Star (with Combat V) and recipient of the Purple Heart in 1967 as a Marine Corps 1st Lt. – described in Thebeerchaser’s post from October 2013.

While a Second Lieutenant, Steve recalls several “serious helicopter events” including two crashes nearby during fire-fights, and an Army pilot who made three passes firing on Steve’s troops and wounding half of his squad before the chopper was called off by radio.

His Silver Star was awarded for action in combat in July 1968 and Bronze Star (with Combat V) for “his display of personal bravery and devotion to duty” in February 1969.  His Bronze Star has an Oak Leaf Cluster because he received a second one for meritorious service while still in Viet Nam. Excerpts from the text of the citations for these two medals is shown below:

Steve's Bronze and Silver Stars for Gallentry

Steve’s Bronze and Silver Stars for Gallantry

Silver Star “For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force….2nd Lt. Lawrence distinguished himself while serving as a platoon leader……When his unit became heavily engaged with a large enemy force, (he) exposed himself to hostile fire as he moved to a forward fighting position to direct the fire of his men.  When two men were wounded, and lying in an exposed area (he) maneuvered his men into position enabling the injured personnel to be recovered.” 14 October, 1968

Bronze Star with Combat V – “During an intense mortar and rocket attack, one of the billits in (his) unit took a direct rocket hit.  With total disregard for his own safety (he)…moved through the rocket and mortar fire to the damaged building….and assisted in applying first aid and evacuating severely wounded men.  Although the attack continued….,he repeatedly returned…in search of other missing individuals. 3 June 1969

A moment of "relaxation" in Quang Tri Province.

A moment of  “relaxation” in Quang Tri Province.

After the Army, Steve attended  Portland State College where he first met Jud Blakely – then a Marine Corps Officer Recruiter – while Steve was involved in student government and trying to mediate in the dispute with students, who tried to throw the Marines off campus after the Kent State University tragedy.

At Jud’s suggestion, both were going to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), but after Jud purchased two of the massive prep manuals, he decided otherwise, although he still justifies the decision by quoting comedian, John Wing:

“And God said, ‘Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on Me.  And let there by lawyers, so people don’t blame everything on Satan…'”

Steve was admitted to Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College at night and Jud went on to work as the Asst. to General Manager Tom King at TriMet (newly formed in 1969 to replace five private bus companies in the Tri-County area). The two were reunited after Steve was selected as the Asst. Director of Marketing and then as Asst. Personnel Director. (Jud told him about the job opening)   A major project was developing Tri-Met’s first handicap accessible policy.

Mementos of his military service.

Mementos of his military service.

During this time Blakely, Thebeerchaser and Lawrence (as a 146 pound center…) played basketball on Friday nights in the gym at Catlin-Gabel School with a group of Nike execs, and then Mayor Neil Goldschmidt with some of his key staff including Alan Webber (now an entrepreneur and candidate for Governor of New Mexico)

The two offered Steve a chance to write and manage a federal demonstration grant for the LIFT Project through the City of Portland.  The LIFT became a permanent TriMet special transportation program and still exists.

After admission to the Oregon State Bar, he had a long legal career and established a reputation as a tough litigator first at the Hampson Bayless & Stiner labor law firm (Lon Stiner is the son of legendary Oregon State Football coach, Alonzo Stiner from 1933 to 1948), in his own practice in The Dalles, at the Williams &Troutwine firm and then as in-house counsel for both North Pacific Insurance Co. and Liberty Mutual.

The hometown boy retired in 2007 and returned to The Dalles where in 2008, he married the widow of the quarterback on his team.  Donna, his new wife, was his high-school sweetheart and they had lost contact when Steve went to junior college.  His civic work in the Dalles and beyond is notable including 25 years on the Board of United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon and SW Washington (3 terms as President).

His initial novel, First Light, based on his experience in Viet Nam, will be published on-line in the near future and his second novel, Amaton Field – an historical novel of The Dalles is about 3/4 finished.

Steve for MayorHe ran successfully for Mayor in 2012 and will be on the General Election ballot this November. One can see his energy, enthusiasm and leadership by reading one of his monthly reports.  They chronicle his efforts to bring new industry, capitalize on recreational opportunities including cycling and promote the City’s agricultural legacy:

In the movie, “Lincoln,” I witnessed three skills which Abraham Lincoln possessed. The first, was to listen more and blame less. The second, was to relax now and then and the third was not to hold grudges. He had a vision and he was persistent. If we exercise these skills, we can all help move The Dalles forward.”

 ——————-

Beerchasing in the Dalles

Steve, Jud and Danny at The Ale House - great food and beer and no salmonella!

Steve, Jud and Danny at Clocktower Ale House – great food and beer and no salmonella!

P1020193Steve invited Jud and me to hit a few of watering holes and it was interesting to see the affection of the townsfolk to their elected leader. (It was also part of the effort to “relax now and then…”

We kidded him about the safety of these eateries, harkening back to 1984, when 750 people were victims of the Rajneesh bio-terror attack through the deliberate contamination of salad bars at ten local restaurants with salmonella. This bizarre plot, according to some sources, was one of only two confirmed bio-terrorist attacks on humans in the US since 1945. 

Clock Tower Ales and Brew Pub, where Steve had his election victory party, “is located in the second Wasco County Courthouse built in 1883 and home to the last public hanging in 1905….. Join us in Historic Downtown for fine pub grub, live entertainment and over 30 craft beers on tap (cider, local wines and a full bar also).” 

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Danny mixes a cocktail at the Clocktower bar.

 

Our waitress, Danny, from Wamic, was a wonderful server, the beer and food was excellent and they have a great patio.

The Clocktower patio on Union Street.

The Clocktower patio on Union Street.

 

 

 

 

 

We then trekked a short distance to River Tap – owned by Tom Wood, who has a similar bar in Hood River – in one of first new buildings in downtown, The Dalles, in about 20 years.  We toasted over Braeval single-malt scotch shots.

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Happy Hour — All Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve is a Renaissance guy, and he had mentioned to us that he reads poetry at “Open Microphone Night” at Zim’s Brau Haus – another bar with great ambiance just up the street.  So we set out again – but it was closed since it was late on a Sunday afternoon.  However, in deference to the Mayor, the owners, Bill and Connie Ford, readily answered his knock and gave us a walk-through of their establishment.

Zims

Zims

Zims is noted for its $2.50 breakfast and two steak nights – Tuesday and Friday “yum! The steak is cooked just as ordered…..better than Delicious!!  They have Spatzel!!  it’s absolutely wonderful!
(Yelp review)

Besides the Mayor reading poetry, there’s also some good entertainment: Total forty-something and over place. Lively on a Tuesday night. Old guys with acoustic guitars crooning old country favorites–and giving a pretty professional performance to boot. (Trip Advisor)

The owners of Zims with Thebeerchaser logo.

The owners of Zims with Thebeerchaser logo.

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As an aside, Steve is also a great fan and collector of Hemingway’s works as evidenced by the view of his home den below.

This summer beckons for a return trip to The Dalles.  In one of his monthly Mayor’s report he states, “If interested in serving on a city committee or commission, please let me know….. My phone number is 503-807-0724 and my email is SeLawrence1963@yahoo.com.”

 

A fan of Hemingway.
A fan of Hemingway.

Even if you don’t reside in The Dalles, but are visiting, you should take him up on that offer.  He might even buy you a micro-brew at Clock Tower, a shot of scotch at River Tap or read a poem at Zim’s!

And if you talk to him, thank him for his service to his country and community.


Beerchaser of the Month – Art Vandelay

The  Beerchaser-of-the-Month or Quarter is a method this blog has periodically employed to acknowledge certain individuals or groups – simply because they should be recognized.  Some, such as the four bartenders from the first four taverns visited (November 2011), are directly related to beer or pubs.

Lt. Jud Blakely, USMC at Than Thrah Viet Nam

Lt. Jud Blakely, USMC at Than Thrah Viet Nam

Others such as two of my SAE fraternity brothers at Oregon StateJud Blakely (Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient for Viet Nam service) September 2013

and

Craig Hanneman (Collegiate All-American football in 1970, NFL career and successful summit of Mt. Everest in 2012) August 2012

Craig Hanneman (right) on Mt. Everest Climb
Craig Hanneman (right) on Mt. Everest Climb

and

Dr. Harry Frankfurt (Princeton University Emeritus Professor and author of the book, On Bullshit) January 2012 are named because of their achievements and contributions to society.  And some such as the fabled crew of the USS Constitution July 2012 and retired chemist, Harold Schlumberg August 2011 for more light-hearted faire.

Professor Frankfurt, author of "On Bullshit."
Professor Frankfurt, developed a theoretical framework in his book “On Bullshit.”

In that spirit, the current Beerchaser-of-the-Month is recognized for his profoundly inconsequential contribution to the world of Latex.  Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Industries a latex manufacturing company has largely slipped under the radar for many years – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises

Art Vandelay, President and CEO of Vandelay Enterprises

He grew up in Keokuk, Iowa, where he was President of his eighth grade class – twice and in high school was voted “Most Likely.”   

Childhood on the Mississippi
Keokuk – Childhood on the Mississippi

Vandelay then moved to Racine, Wisconsin and attended Kramer Community College for four years where he received his associate degree.  He didn’t participate in major team sports but was a Bowler.

After a very short first marriage to a classmate, which was voided by the court based on a “technicality,” he moved to New York.  Art Vandelay gained new confidence upon realizing that all his annoying habits disappeared when he lived alone.

Vandelay Industries' Products, in part...

Vandelay Industries’ Products, in part…

Our Beerchaser then became a latex salesman for Vandelay Industries and rose up the corporate ladder when he validated the following leadership theory propounded by comedian Dave Berry:

“When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that person is crazy.”
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Art Vandelay’s solution for a market slump was originating the slogan for one of their more well known products:
“Wrap it in latex, or she’ll get your paychecks.”

After becoming President, he led his company to a record number of years of marginal profitability – his employees followed him primarily out of a sense of morbid curiosity.

Leadership that inspires followers....
Leadership that inspires followers….

Idiosyncrasies such as his habit of paging himself on the intercom raised questions.  However, his personal lifestyle and political philosophy had a calming effect on the organization.  For example:

“Set aside five minutes each day.  At the end of the year, you will have saved up 1.27 days.”

Another five minutes accrued.....

Another five minutes accrued…..

or

“Annoy a liberal – Work – Succeed – Be Happy!!”

Room Temperature...
Room Temperature Intellect and Personality…

—————

This led to the oft quoted expression: “Work of Art.” 

So raise a mug to an individual, who notwithstanding his room temperature IQ, may not have raised the bar, but at least passed it.

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For those who want more detailed information about Vandelay Industries including the real story, use the following link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Vandelay#Pseudonyms