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

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“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.” 

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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?

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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.

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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…)”
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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.

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Boating ith noted blogger, Jack Bogdanski

Boating with noted blogger, Jack Bogdanski

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Jay Waldron – Rugger, Rafter, Rider and Lawyer – Beerchaser of the Quarter

Jay Waldron - Beerchaser of the Quarter

Jay Waldron – Beerchaser of the Quarter

The newest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter is Jay Waldron,a senior attorney at the law firm of Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt. We will examine the reasons why Jay is considered to be an outstanding lawyer, but his recognition on this blog transcends his legal accomplishments.

Jay, as has been the tradition at the Schwabe firm, has made significant contributions to the civic and non-profit community, but also left his mark in athletic arenas and with impressive adventures ranging from motorcycle racing to rafting some of the world’s most challenging rivers. He has also hit some pretty good bars in his travels around the world.

John Schwabe - a USMC hero with his wife, Jean

John Schwabe – a USMC hero with his wife, Jean

Let’s briefly look at the law firm’s legacy partners.  The late John Schwabe, a Silverton, Oregon native and one of the founding partners, is known for his heroism as a marine officer fighting at Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan in the South Pacific in WW II. He was awarded the Silver Star and five Bronze stars.  His heroics and that of one of the men in his outfit, were portrayed in a 1960 Hollywood movie – “Hell to Eternity.”

Wayne Williamson also served as a Naval officer in World War II and was known for his outstanding skill as a trial lawyer. And Wendell Wyatt, who joined the firm as a name partner in 1974, was a reconnaissance pilot during the War and went on to serve ten years in Congress, where he ably represented Oregon in the House of Representatives.

Wyatt - the former Congressman

Wyatt – the former Congressman

Jay follows his colleague, Jack Faust, an outstanding appellate lawyer and former host of the award-winning public affairs program, Town Hall, as Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (9/2/14 post).  The photo below is also evidence that Faust did his part in both undergraduate and law school at the University of Oregon to promote the brewery industry in Oregon.

Jack Faust 3

Faust – studying for finals at U of O Law School

 

Our “honoree” this quarter could be described as a “Renaissance Man.”  Waldron fits the bill, based on his double major at Providence College in English and Philosophy, supplemented by his Master’s Degree from the University of Virginia. “The Poetry of Emily Dickinson.”   He then enrolled in a UVA’s doctoral program and taught 7th-grade English in Appalachia while also coaching basketball during work on his Ph.D.

Dickinson - did not play rugby, but excelled at poetry

Dickinson – did not play rugby, but excelled at poetry

Three years of law school and graduation from University of Virginia (known as one of the nation’s top five law schools) came when he was an “older” student at twenty-nine. Jay admits that part of his motivation to attend law school was to continue playing rugby – begun seven years earlier in 1968 – he was on several Representative teams.

Third-year law student, James T. Waldron

Third-year law student, James T. Waldron

Law school trained his instincts in advocacy. For example, that was when he first asserted, “If you are watching television, you’re not drinking alone.”

In 1966, Jay met his now wife of forty-eight years, Karen, while he was serving as a bouncer at a bar at Horseback Beach in Westport, Mass on the Atlantic Ocean.

“It was a Sunday night and she was not 21, but with that blonde hair and tan, there was no way, I wasn’t going to let her in.” 

Jay obviously married up.....

Jay obviously married up…..here with Karen in San Diego after they both bicycled from Lincoln City in 1975

 

Waldron then weighed 220 pounds and had long hair, which drew some comments when he applied for clerkships in Oregon where he wanted to move with his new wife.   He landed a prestigious position with the late Federal District Court Judge, Otto Skopil. 

Although he had never been to Oregon, he had the good sense to spend his first hour in the Rose City in the bar at the Veritable Quandary.

 

Waldron Ledge clerk

Evidence of pushing the boundaries……

 

When he informed the judge about his goal to work at a private law firm after a one-year clerkship, Waldron was admonished by Judge Skopil, “Most of your competitors for these jobs won’t have long hair.”   Jay’s interview with Wayne Williamson went well notwithstanding his curly locks and he has worked at SWW for the ensuing forty years.

But there are a lot of great lawyers in Portland and at Schwabe.   What qualifies Waldron to join the list of esteemed Beerchasers-of-the-Quaretr such as Princeton Professor Emeritus and author, Dr. Harry Frankfurt, Viet Nam veterans who both have been awarded Bronze Stars –  Jud Blakely and Steve Lawrence and even the crew of the USS Constitution on their fabled 1798 war cruise?

Waldron's guiding principle

Waldron’s guiding principle

Perhaps the key is Jay’s favorite quote from the late Edward Land, scientist, inventor and co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation: “Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.”    So let’s review the evidence:

Athletics – Rugby, Boxing and Wild-horse Riding

RUGBYAfter law school, Jay continued to play rugby for the legendary Portland Rugby Club, which was known for both its stellar play and after-match antics at their favorite bar – Jakes although the Horse Brass Pub also received its share of visits – see Thebeerchaser post on 5/23/13.

In fact, as set forth in this blog in a post dated 5/13/13, (see narrative below and at the end of this post) one incident in 1982 involved a California business man (Steven G. Hayford) who wore a tie into the bar at Jakes and commented about the inappropriate attire of the ruggers.

His subsequent letter to the manager of Jake’s requesting reimbursement for his silk tie  (which Waldron cut in half) relates the incident and reads in part:

After-match drinking place

After-match drinking place

“…..we were assaulted by 5 to 8 of your largest patrons.  My arms were pinned behind my back while a third cut my tie with a pair of scissors…..one mustached individual bounded over the bar to break up a possible ensuing riot.  As each offending participant was twice as large as (we were) and a full four times as large as your bartender, a riot did not ensue, and my party bid a hasty (although loud) retreat.”

After coming across Thebeerchaser blog post many years later, Mr. Hayford, the “victim” posted the following good-natured comment about the incident:

“Hey! I’m Steve Hayford and I remember everything except disparaging what the gorillas were wearing. That tidbit must remain in dispute. Anyway, all is forgiven. Amazing what you find when you google your own name.”

boxing 2

Athletic, but absent minded when drinking

Another story involved the Club’s winter trip to New Zealand in 1980.   While raising a mug(s) in a bar after the match, Waldron left an expensive coat in the bar that Karen had purchased for his trip.  He sent what he thought would be a futile inquiry, but was surprised that six months later, when a sailor (and fellow rugby player) on one of the ships visiting the Portland Rose Festival called and said he had the garment.

They agreed to meet and have a beer at Jakes (obviously!) and Jay realized the next day that he had again left the coat that had traveled approximately 7,125 miles to Jakes.  He never saw the coat again.

Rugby announcing

Rugby announcing

 

Our honoree also coached the Portland Pig Rugby Team for five years.  He announced rugby matches aired on Fox and ESPN in a four-year stint and served on the board of the US Rugby Foundation.

You can see by the picture below that Jay invested some time as a boxer as well.   This “career” started while in law school, when he became the sparring partner of Peter Schmidt, a former NFL player and Golden Gloves Champion who was in graduate school at UVA.  Schmidt decided to enter as a heavy-weight in the heavily contested intramural boxing competition, usually the domain of undergrads.

The Dancing Bear on his way to the championship

The Dancing Bear on his way to the championship

He played rugby and drafted a reluctant but malleable Jay to not only spar with him, but also enter as a light heavy-weight. On weigh-in, Jay hit the scales at 178 so he could make weight – down from 217 and at the time of his matches he weighed 190 pounds.

Our Beerchaser honoree dressed in black for the matches and was booed by the crowd, but succeeded in winning the IM title as reported in the UVA newspaper:

“Jay Waldron captured (a) championship before a large, bloodthirsty crowd…..Waldron, the Dancing Bear of gridiron fame, continued his pursuit for recognition of Clark Hall’s (UVA Law School) Biggest Jock, with his unanimous decision……

Despite weakness from a beerless diet imposed by trainer, Jim ‘Bundini’ Abrams, Waldron dominated the first two rounds. The Dancing Bear got himself into trouble early in the third round, but Bundini’s exhortations and a solid shot to the chin rocked Waldron back to his senses and he rallied to win.”

Sparring with Ray Lampkin

Sparring with Ray Lampkin

Not content to walk away before he had long-term cerebral issues, he continued boxing, in a manner of speaking.  In an attempt to be a Portland George Plimpton, he wrote a story for One Dollar Magazine, where he again became a training and sparring partner.

This time, however, it was with the #1 lightweight in the world – Portlander, Ray Lampkin. “I stayed with him when he ran, except he was in combat boots and I was in Nike’s,” Waldron recalled.

Lampkin finished his career with a total of 34 wins, six losses and one draw and was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.  Probably his most well-known match was the 1975 World Boxing Association lightweight title fight that he lost to Roberto Duran in Panama.  Waldron  doesn’t remember any significant sparring injuries (which may not mean that there aren’t any…….)

Ray Lampkin

Ray Lampkin

And finally, after what was probably a long and serious discussion with two rugby colleagues at Peters Inn and The Hobbit (Beerchaser post dated 1/23/13), Jay and his buddies decided to compete in the wild-horse ride competition at the Pendleton Roundup. (He grew up riding horses on his family’s property on Cape Cod.)

In this event which involved three guys who had to catch the horse, saddle it and ride it out of the arena.  The result??  In the second year, they succeeded in at least saddling the horse……

Jay’s son, Shane, has followed in his dad’s coaching footsteps and is currently a coach with the Washington Redskins.  This follows assistant coaching gigs at both Notre Dame, the New England Patriots and the University of MassachusettsKaren is also a good athlete – both she and Jay have won Multnomah Athletic Club Decathlons in their age groups.

 River Rafting

Wadron grew up sailing in the Atlantic, but perhaps after the wild-horse rides, decided he wanted a more adventurous water experience which resulted in his first raft trip on the Rouge River in 1980, led by his Schwabe colleague, Rocky Gill. And who knows whether it was that trip or just having a house on the Clackamas River for many years, but he began a remarkable saga of river exploration as follows:

Colorado River – three trips between 2006–2014 on a 16.5 foot cataraft down the entire length of the river.

The Great Bend of the Upper Yangzte

A category-five rapid on the Colorado

Upper Yangtze in 1996 – these are some of the biggest rapids in the world. Jay said their party of fifteen started where explorer, Ken Warren quit and where the river was flowing an amazing 6-8 mph with 20 foot high rapids at some points during their eight-day trek.  Jay became the first “Caucasian” to row a cataraft through all the rapids of the Great Bend of the Yangtze.

South America and Canada – he made additional raft trips down the Pacuare River in Costa Rica and the Bio-Bio and Futaleufu Rivers in Chile and the Chilko in British Columbia. He also rowed the Magpie River in Canada last year.

The Waldron house for many years

The Waldron house for many years

And speaking of the house on the Clackamas, the Waldron’s sold the venerable place in 2014 and moved to a condo in the high-rise Ladd – within a block of both the bars in Higgins and The Rookery in downtown Portland – and two blocks from the Schwabe Portland office.

While the Waldrons over the years had turned down multiple requests by studios to use the house in movies and television series, the new owners acquiesced. The first Twilight of the three-movie series used it as did Grimm in its Season-Three finale of a wedding scene.

Jay, Karen and Shane

Jay, Karen and Shane…and Seamus

 

house blue sky

 

 

Perhaps Jay and Karen’s decision was validated because there were multiple problems – freezing weather, a smoke alarm problem resulting in the police showing up. (http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/2014/05/grimm_on_the_set_in_oregon_for.html)

Motorcyles

Adventures in South America

Adventures in South America

While his rugby (and actions at bars afterwards) or river rafting exploits raise the question as to whether Jay has a death wish, his motorcycle trips may confirm it (he was once clocked at 155 mph on his Ducati).   Motorcycle 2

Twenty-one different road trips throughout the US have been supplemented by a journey around both South Africa and New Zealand and a trek from Chile to the southern tip of South America.

He started riding when he was seventeen and now at seventy, will ride from Portland to Key West, Florida in May.

Civic and Charitable Work

The Schwabe firm has a rich legacy of non-profit activities and contributions to the state and region.   Jay is part of this tradition and currently serves as the Chair of the Oregon Health Sciences University Board – his ninth year on the Board, having been appointed by former Governor Ted Kulongoski.

port of portlandThis position followed his appointment by former Governor Kitzhaber to the Port of Portland Board, where he served for eight years, six of that as President.   Concurrent service (eight years) on the Board of Lewis and Clark College are also on his resume as is past service on boards for the North Clackamas School District and the Oregon Law Foundation.

And I got to see Jay in action during his three years on the Schwabe Board of Directors, when some partners in the firm, felt that given the changes in the legal profession, a rugby mentality might add a good perspective.

At Jay’s request, his fellow board members grudgingly agreed to move up the starting time for semi-monthly board meetings from 7:30 to 7:00 AM because of his busy schedule.  They badgered him mercilessly when he showed up at 7:25 for the first meeting after the change commenced.

I got to personally witness Jay’s oratorical skills – not in the courtroom, but when he was on a panel at a City Club of Portland Friday Forum on regional transportation – when Jay was Chair of Metro’s Transportation Committee.   I wondered how he was going to both integrate and deliver the bar joke that I gave him and urged him to try – he nailed it!!

“A traffic engineer walks into a bar carrying a piece of asphalt under his arm. The bartender asks him what he wants to drink.  The engineer states, ‘Two beers – One for me and one for the road….’”

Legal Career

He "lost" the long hair....

He “lost” the long hair….

Notwithstanding all his other activities, Jay has managed to fit in a legal career also marked by accomplishment.   As a young lawyer of 37, he argued at the US Supreme Court on an appeal from Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals.  (He represented publicly owned utilities in their battle with aluminum companies and the Bonneville Power Administration over a power contract issue.  He has also appeared before the Oregon Supreme Court on a number of arguments and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Perhaps it’s Jay’s ability to analyze and critique the English language, begun in his undergraduate days and refined in law school, where he learned to interpret terms very literally. This trait was most aptly demonstrated after Jay and some of his fellow classmates moved from an apartment into a small house off campus.  Shortly after the move, a small kitchen fire broke out and Jay phoned 911 to report it which resulted in the following dialogue:

Jay: I need to report a kitchen fire in our house.

911 Operator: Sir, please give us your address.

Jay:   We just moved here a few days ago. I don’t know it.

911 Operator: (somewhat exasperated..) Sir, can you at least give me your street name?

Jay: Well, when I’m playing rugby, they call me “Bubba.”

Asked about his most memorable legal achievement, Jay responds that it was winning a $108 million arbitration, which included $8 million in post judgment interest on a contested energy contract. (Powerex v Alcan).

Another tradition at Schwabe has been ongoing pro-bono legal services for low-income clients at the East County Legal Clinic. Jay was involved in the founding of the Clinic and also received the Oregon State Bar Public Service Award for his pro bono work. His legal expertise as a trial lawyer in environmental and energy law are recognized by his selection as both an Oregon Super Lawyer and inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America.

Creative client entertainment

Creative client entertainment

Waldron showed creativity in his client relations recently, when he had a group of important clients who flew into Portland.  Rather than take them to the customary “stuffy” restaurant, Waldron consulted Thebeerchaser and elected to take them to Club 21 in Northeast Portland.

No, it’s not a strip club notwithstanding the name, but a great dive bar in a former Greek Orthodox church.  The clients loved the ambiance and the “Build-Your-Own Burger” option for dinner.

Karen and JayHaving just turned seventy, who knows what future legal milestones and adventures are still on Jay’s (and Karen’s) plate, but the newest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter has traveled life’s journey to this point with a full mug!

The Dancing Bear is a good drinking companion – just remind him to take his coat with him when he leaves the bar and be comforted by the fact that he no longer chews on glass while  drinking his favorite beer –  Double Mountain India Red Ale.

Or ask him to quote from his favorite poem by Emily Dickinson: “Because I Could Not Stop For Death.”   That might promote more of his stories that space constraints precluded this blog from covering.  For instance, ask him about “hiding my beer money from a Mafia hit man while he held a gun to my head.”

Excerpt from Thebeerchaser Post of 5/13/2013

Scene of social upheaval

Scene of social upheaval

…….Yes, Thebeerchaser was skeptical, but these pictures attest to the fact that an alcove (in the Jake’s Bar) leading into the men’s room preserves some  rugger nostalgia – thanks to John Underhill, Jake’s former manager and rugby player.

One of the best mementos is a letter to Jakes written by Steven G. Hayford on April 29, 1982.  He took umbrage with his experience in the bar where:

“….. we were assaulted by 5 to 8 of your largest patrons.  My arms were pinned behind my back while a third cut my tie with a pair of scissors…..one mustached individual bounded over the bar to break up a possible ensuing riot. 

As each offending participant was twice as large as (we were) and a full four times as large as your bartender, a riot did not ensue, and my party bid a hasty (although loud) retreat.

…..I believe the ‘gorillas’ that attacked us belonged someplace other than at a high-class place like Jake’s and should have been evicted……I would like to consider the incident closed…but my bruised ego is preventing me from making a clean break……

"Gorilla Tactics with a Swiss army knife

“Gorilla Tactics with a Swiss army knife

I would appreciate it, if you would reimburse me for the nominal amount of $20…… for my silk tie.  If you decline, I’m afraid…..people who wear ties will start avoiding your restaurant.  Please consider my flippant tone a measure of my sense of humor and not as a lack of seriousness of this matter.”  

The Hayford letter still on display at Jakes

The Hayford letter still on display at Jakes

Since the statute of limitations has tolled, Waldron is pretty candid about the incident and provides this perspective:

“He made a loud remark about the inappropriateness of our attire. We reacted immediately—Two 250 lb. players lifted him off his feet and pinned his arms , a Swiss army knife appeared on car keys from one of the player’s pocket and I cut it cleanly.

We placed the cut portion of the tie on the bar with a double margarita as compensation —I cut it with the scissors from a Swiss army knife — A warm night in Jake’s after rugby practice, we in shorts and practice gear, he and others were in suits.”

In the Rugger's alcove at Jake's

In the Rugger’s alcove at Jake’s

Now, Thebeerchaser does not condone social upheaval in bars, there should be consensus that unless you’re a client, it’s more interesting to hear Waldron’s rugby stories than his legal theories on siting of mining facilities or the definition of major stationary sources under Title V of the Clean Air Act.

 

 

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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