On Veterans and Lawyers….

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  Since this is a long post, if you are seeing it through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

Based on the tyranny of the urgent as well as the unique challenges presented in 2020, we may tend to overlook our traditional commemoration of individuals and groups on Veterans’ Day.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic, experienced raging wildfires throughout the West, encountered protests and riots over the issue of social and racial injustice, witnessed businesses floundering or ceasing operation and endured divisive political campaigns culminating in one of the closest and most contentious elections in many years.   Oh yes – and now we face the ever-present dilemma of how, with many gyms still closed, to get back in shape and lose the poundage gained snacking during the lockdowns.

We cannot, however, forget those who had a profound impact on preserving our freedom –  our Veterans.  In this Beerchaser post, I’ll attempt to reinforce the importance of taking time during Veterans’ Day on November 11th to hail their dedication, sacrifice and patriotism.

A poster from 2013

In a recent post, based on my forty years of working with them, I named lawyers –  as a group -as my Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.   Now I know some of you may think that the recent post-election turnout of lawyers exceeded the turnout of voters, but they are critical to preserving the Rule of Law – a foundation of our system of justice.

And below, I will single out a few of them – some who have previously garnered the “honor” of Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, but should also be recognized for their distinguished service in the Armed Forces.  In closing, I name a few others who should also be saluted on this day.

The headline and narrative below first appeared as an opinion piece in my local newspaper in 1998.  It was inspired by an event at the law firm where I worked for twenty-five years – the last thirteen as the Chief Operating Officer.

A number of times in the past, I have asserted why Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt is an outstanding firm – not only for its superb lawyers and support personnel, but also its culture, commitment to civic engagement and community service. The event below is just one example of how Schwabe distinguishes itself and I want to share it again.

(The following was originally published in the West Linn Tidings in November, 1968.)

“Vets Stories Awe Law Firm, Honor Holiday”

Joe Willis

Joe Willis is a senior partner in the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm based in Portland, Oregon.  Joe was an E-5 (petty officer second class) in the Navy quite a few years in the past.

A few months ago, he sent an e-mail to everyone in the firm.  Joe asked military veterans to e-mail him back, indicating the branch of service and some details about when and where they served.  Those of us who responded promptly forgot about his unusual electronic request.

But Joe didn’t forget.  He felt that Veterans’ Day is now largely taken for granted.  Joe wanted his law firm to think about what it signifies.  On November 14th, he sent another e-mail with the invitation below inviting everyone to a social function honoring the men and women in the firm who are veterans.

Most people in the firm attended – many out of curiosity.  Willis made a few opening remarks (after all, he’s trial lawyer…) and then asked three of the firms named partners to relate stories about their military service.  We heard:

John Schwabe – After he graduated from college, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and then completed officer training. He endured beach landings and the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan. For his service, he was awarded a Silver Star, five Bronze Stars and a Presidential Citation for Valor.

John told about coming ashore in the Battle of Tarawa as a Marine Corps officer.  Of the twenty-two men in his amphibious vehicle, only four survived – one of them received the Medal of Honor posthumously.  

John Schwabe was known for his humility and modesty and Joe had at one time asked him why he volunteered to go back on the last two of his four campaigns and John told him simply, “Because it had to be done.”

Wendell Wyatt – This former Oregon Congressman told about flying reconnaissance missions as a Marine Corps aviator in the South Pacific from 1942-46.

Marine aviator, Congressman and lawyer

Wayne Williamson – He related an exciting and somewhat humorous tale about when he was a Naval officer during World War II.  While his ship was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Germans surrendered to the Allies.   Without much warning, a German U-Boat surfaced near them evidently to surrender.

German SS – “Surface and Surrender??

Armed to the hilt including a pistol, grenades and a submachine gun he didn’t know how to operate, he and his party boarded the sub.  They descended the ladder to take command of the vessel, which was a problem because no one in the submarine could speak English and none in the boarding party knew any German.

As everyone in the firm listened attentively, Wayne told how as he looked at all the German sailors surrounding them, he “got the giggles” at the absurdity of the situation.

The hour passed 5 0’clock, as the lawyers continued their stories.  No one left.  Everyone, but especially the young people, listened with rapt attention.  Joe Willis distributed a large sheet of paper with a chart he made giving each veteran’s, branch of service, rank or rating and duty stations.

US Army Intelligence and Security Command logo

Attorney, Jack Faust, who served in Army counter-intelligence, walked in wearing his kaki tunic (several sizes too small, which was probably why he didn’t wear the pants).

On display in the conference room was a pith helmet one of the soldiers had worn on active duty, along with some photos of people who were in the room, but “hard to recognize” from the photos taken years before.  People cheered as the veterans finished their stories.

That morning as I drove in, I bemoaned the fact that the firm was not closed to commemorate the holiday unlike government offices, schools and banks.  When I went home that night, I thought it had been the most memorable Veterans’ Day I could remember.  Each person who attended had been enriched by the experience.

Thanks Joe.  Well done.  Mission accomplished!

Well, that’s the Schwabe story, but there are some additional individuals who I want to salute on this Veterans’ Day – mostly lawyers, but also some friends and relatives:

Former Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter

(To see the full story of each BOQ including the full text of the medal commendations for Blakely, Bomarito and Lawrence, click on the link over their names below)

Jack Faust

Jack Faust – US Army –  He served in Army intelligence and counterintelligence during the Korean War.  From 1953-55 as a Special Agent in the US Army Counterintelligence Corps – detachment Far East Command, he was stationed in Korea, Japan and China.  Jack is a retired Portland attorney and the former moderator of the Town Hall public affairs television program.

Jud Blakely – USMC After graduating from Oregon State University in 1965, where he served as Student Body President, Jud was commissioned as a USMC 2nd Lt.

He spent a total of 13 months in combat ops in Viet Nam as an infantry platoon leader with India Co., 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.

He received two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. His purple hearts were for a punji-stake puncture in his knee and shrapnel wounds in his forehead from a midnight mortar attack during the monsoons on the southern edge of the DMZ.

Jud writes and consults from his home in Alabama.

Doug Bomarito – USN – a good friend of Jud Blakely, Doug graduated from the US Naval Academy.  As a Navy Ensign, he initially was on a destroyer, but in 1969 volunteered for Patrol Boats River (PBR), which patrolled in the hostile rivers and canals.

Lt. jg. Bomarito

He served as a patrol officer for a number of PBRs attached to a River Division near the Cambodian border by the Gulf of Thailand.  It was, to say the least, hazardous duty.

February 23, 1970, on his 75th combat mission, the boat on which he was directing tactics and another for which he had responsibility, were ambushed by the North Vietnamese.

During a severe fire-fight, Doug and two of the crew were wounded and eventually medevacked to hospitals, but not before Doug completed his mission.  He received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his heroism.

He is now a Portland lawyer.  Bomarito was a key player in developing, designing and funding the Viet Nam Veterans of Oregon Living Memorial. (see below)

The “grown-up versions of Blakely and Bomarito

Jim Westwood

Jim Westwood – USN This now semi-retired Oregon appellate lawyer in the ’60’s was the Captain of the legendary Portland State College Bowl Team which made headlines for its victories on national television.

After graduation from PSU and before law school at  Columbia University, he was commissioned in the Navy and served as a Naval Intelligence Officer for several years.  Because of his superior language skills, he spent a year learning Thai – an extremely difficult language to master.

Steve Lawrence – US Army Steve is a retired lawyer and until recently, the two-term Mayor of the Dalles, Oregon went to Boise Jr. College after graduating from The Dalles High School, but enlisted in 1967.  He was selected for Officer Candidate School, was commissioned and then commanded an infantry platoon in Viet Nam.

While a Second Lieutenant, Steve recalled 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 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.

The Late Colonel Terry “Spike” McKinsey – USMC Ret. – I first met this Gladstone, Oregon native who was to become a legendary jet pilot when we were shipmates on a Navy destroyer (USS John R. Craig DD 885) on our 3/c midshipman summer training cruise when I was in NROTC at Oregon State and he was at the Naval Academy.

Terry took his commission in the Marine Corps and after his eighteen-year career in the active military where he earned the nickname “Spike” because of his tendency to come in for “hard landings,” he flew for the Oregon Air National Guard.  As a result of his charismatic leadership skills, he became the Base Commander from 1985 to 1989.  He then flew as Assistant Chief Pilot for Horizon Airlines.

Spike passed away in 2019 and this excerpt from his obituary written by a USNA classmate sums up his character:

“During his 72 years, Spike’s undeniable strength, unconditional kindness, and unquestionable integrity made a lasting impact on his friends, colleagues, and family….. Spike lived a life true to his values. He stood for what is right and didn’t hesitate to step in when he saw injustice in action.”

Proudly on display at The Dirty Shame

John Runkle  US Army –  He joined the Army in 1980 and was ordered to Jump School at Fort Benning, Georgia.  John became a Paratrooper with the 509th Airborne Combat Team, was shipped to Europe and graduated from the French Commando School. 

He also earned Spanish Jump Wings.  The big guy made a total of 53 jumps.

He served as a member of an Army Service component command of United States Africa Command, which although based in Italy, primarily operated in Africa.  His last billet was as an instructor at Fort Benning.

John is now the owner of the Dirty Shame Saloon and the Yaak River Lodge in Yaak, Montana.  I met him on my 2019 Montana road trip and “The Shame” was the most interesting and my favorite of any of the 400 watering holes I’ve reviewed since starting I started Beerchasing in 2011.

Thebeerchaser giving John two bottles of Benedictine Beer in 2019

Don (NROTC) Garry (USMA West Point) Rick (NROTC)

Captain Rick Williams USN Ret. – Although all three of the Williams boys served in the military, our youngest brother had a long and distinguished Navy career.

After graduation and commissioning from the NROTC program at Oregon State, he became a Navy hard-hat diver and then commanded a deep submergence vehicle (USS Sea Cliff DSV 4) including a dive to 20,000 feet in the Middle American Trench off Guatemala.

On his “journey” he went to Nuclear Power School after an interview with the late Admiral Hyman Rickover.  He retired as the Skipper of the USS Spadefish SSN 668 – a Sturgeon Class attack submarine.

And while mentioning submarines, I don’t want to forget our brother-in-law, Dave Booher, a retired teacher and school administrator.

Dave served as a sonarman on two Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines for five nuclear deterrent patrols and was aboard the diesel boat USS Dogfish – it was older than the Beerchaser, having been launched in 1944!.

Dale Harlan

Dale Harlan – US ArmySoon after the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, he volunteered for the U.S. Army and was sent overseas. Dale was awarded two battle stars and the Air Medal for service in the Central Pacific. Subsequently, he volunteered for the Parachute Infantry and was assigned to Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles).

Dale received two battle stars in Europe, two Presidential Unit Citations, and a Purple Heart. He was severely wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium in January 1945.

He passed away in 2017 and had a distinguished career as a lawyer and elected official besides a life-long commitment to charitable and civic activities.  Dale Harlan is the epitome of those in the Greatest Generation and was a wonderful friend.

But my final recognition on this Veteran’s Day goes to two members of the military who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country:

Captain Donald Wilburn

Don Wilburn – US Army Air Corps – Captain Donald E. Wilburn was my dad’s best friend and SAE fraternity brother at George Washington University.  Don was a pilot in the Army Air Corps and died during World War II. I’m honored to be named after him (Donald Wilburn Williams)

Gary Kestler – US Marine Corps – Gary Kestler was my best friend at Oregon City High School and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1967.  He was killed by enemy rifle fire while on patrol in Quang Tri Province in Viet Nam on May 28, 1968.  In high school, Gary was a student leader, a multi-sport athlete and a friend to all.

So what are a just a few things we can do this Veterans’ Day to pay homage to those who served:

  • Show the flag at your personal residence.
  • Call a veteran(s) and thank him or her for their service.
  • Raise a mug and make a personal toast to those currently serving.
  • Send a check to the Viet Nam Veteran’s of Oregon Memorial Fund (VNVOMF) to honor all of our Viet Nam Veterans.  Send to:
Doug Bomarito, Attorney at Law
Past Chairman and President
7157 S.W. Beveland Street
Tigard, OR 97223
(503) 223-8285

Cheers to our Veterans!

Dont Get Mad — Get Mad Hanna!

Beerchaser regular, Jim Westwood, at the entrance to Mad Hanna

While one can cruise the infamous Barmuda Triangle (also known as “The Stumble Zone”) in SE Portland and find numerous dive bars, unearthing these hidden treasures in other quarters of the Rose City, has become more challenging – particularly with the closure of some historic dives.

In the eight years of Thebeerchaser blog, I’ve reviewed quite a number of memorable dive bars.  I attempted to memorialize (if you will) the Portland all-stars in this category in a February post:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/02/09/thebeerchasers-best-portland-dive-bars/ .  It captures the essence of my four personal favorites.

Now my second visit to Mad Hanna was after publishing the aforementioned post or it would have been an addition to the four favorites.   And it is in NE Portland, which does not reflect the wealth of dives in the southeast quadrant.

Mad Hanna (hereafter “MH”), while clearly exhibiting the notable characteristics of a dive, borders on the temperament and character of a neighborhood watering hole.  As evidence of this slightly schizoid ambiance, see  both the martini glass and the Pabst sign which decorate the front of the establishment which is otherwise dumpy and rundown – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Notice the martini – gin with an olive – in the upper right part of the sign….

We have to be careful here because one description in a link to the MH website describes it as a “casual, playful tavern.”  (No dive bar should have the adjective “playful” characterizing it, so we will scratch that phrase as misguided…..), but it does have positive mood or presence similar to another one of the NE dives – The Standard. And it self describes in the caption to it’s own website:  “The Best Dive Bar in Portland.”

While I spend a considerable amount of time researching the establishments I visit, I had never heard of MH until reconnecting with a friend, Hillary Barbour.  She lives in the general area and said that it was a bar that deserved recognition by Thebeerchaser, so my first visit was with Hillary.

I first met her in 1994, when she was a research assistant for the Portland City Club and I was on the Research Board of this civic organization.   She was a recent graduate of Reed College and earned the endearing moniker, “Barbour the Magnificent,” by some of us on the Board because of her superior performance and enthusiastic work ethic.

After a few jobs trying to discover what she wanted to do with her life, she worked as a key staffer for Congressman Earl Blumenauer for almost fifteen years and became the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Burgerville in 2016.

Barbour the Magnificent on her throne at Mad Hanna

As a recent Reed graduate, Hillary spent a lot of time at the City Club trying to  convince us that she was really politically moderate, had worn dresses to most of her liberal arts classes and that most of the students at Reed were just like those at Oregon State University except that they major in Nuclear Physics, Bio-chemistry or Chinese Literature rather than Forestry or Animal Husbandry.  

Actual picture of Cerenkov radiation surrounding the underwater core of the Reed College nuclear reactor

Note:  Some Portlanders may not know that Reed is also the only undergraduate educational institution in the world to operate a research nuclear reactor.    Those who live near campus might consider acquiring a Geiger counter to supplement their portable generators if they view this excerpt from the Reed website: “We are dependent on incoming freshmen who want to run the reactor…..”

Hillary asserted that Reed’s intercollegiate sports program including rugby, ultimate frisbee and soccer, was less expensive and more inclusive that those of the PAC-12 – maybe it was the PAC-10 in 1994….

Ultimate Frisbee in between time at Reeds’ nuclear reactor…

And finally, she tried to explain the Reed’s Student Ethics Code to members of the Research Board  – it differs from most (maybe all) universities in that it is:

“….a guide for ethical standards themselves and not just their enforcement. Under the Honor Principle, there are no codified rules governing behavior. Rather, the onus is on students individually and as a community to define which behaviors are acceptable and which are not.”

Westwood offered explanation of Honor Guide…

Jim Westwood, a hard-core Beerchaser regular, who is also a former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and one of the most skilled appellate lawyers and intelligent people I know, was also a City Club leader at that time.   He accompanied me on my second visit to MH.

So as we were drinking a PBR, as a conversation piece, I asked him for his interpretation of this somewhat abstract university credo.  He mumbled something about the substance of jelly-fish and then referenced protoplasm and amoebae…

But we digress….. Back to Mad Hanna……Why wouldn’t you like this bar?   While the outside might be somewhat off-putting, the inside has everything one could ask for in what is colloquially labeled “a watering hole.”

It has great old beer signs – such as Pabst, Oly and Rolling Rock and a good, although not excessive, selection of brews ranging from the standards to a few micro-brews  (Happy Hour = $4 micro – $2.50 standards and PBRs’ are $2) all of which are listed on a blackboard rather than an electronic display.  I was impressed with their line-up of ten cocktails – see below – which get good reviews.

There’s also an impressive pool table, a poster of Wonder Woman and a few, but not too many video poker machines in addition to arcade (video) games.

Adds to the ambiance….

There were a couple of TVs but ones which are of moderate size and for which the glare doesn’t disturb the somewhat dingy but very comfortable ambience.  And instead of low-scoring soccer games or Sports Center blaring on the main screen, there was a muted Charlie Brown animation film captivating the audience.

Dive bars are often characterized by hard-core regulars who react with mild to more aggressive hostility to newcomers, but on both of my visits, you are unnoticed when you walk in and stake out a location and head to the bar to order.  That’s because scattered groups of regulars are engaged in active discussions or in friendly interactions with the amiable and helpful bartenders.

People, whether on the excellent patio in the back (see below), gathered around the bar or sitting at tables in small groups, were having a good time.

Sterile environment – operated by the same corporation that runs the Olive Garden.

Now there are a few of the bars or breweries visited on Thebeerchaser’s multi-year tour which either reflect sterile, corporate-type settings or environments or worse, a benign neglect or seeming apathy of the owners.  A less genteel way to convey this is that the character of the bar “sucks!”

The only two Portland examples I can cite are The Yardhouse in downtown Portland and Bar 33-Brooklyn just north of Sellwood.

A lot of potential, but apathy greets you at the entrance

(If you want to learn the rationale for my conclusions, click on the links above, but suffice to say that if you really are thirsty for a beer, have at it.  But if you want a “bar experience,” don’t waste your time.)

Mad Hanna is the antithesis of these bars and I would suggest that it’s because of the attitude of the co-owners —Crystall Maddox and Liz Hanna, who not only came up with the good name, but also make efforts to instill community and the spirit that seems to radiate within the walls.

They get a nice mention in a 2017 feature in Portland Drink entitled “Visit One of Portland’s Many Female-Owned Bars” 

For example, their Facebook page is informative and filled with information and they also have a nice, but not overly sophisticated website with scores of pictures of people having fun and the inviting description below:

“Mad Hanna, your neighborhood living room, drinks are cold and the welcome is warm.  Need a laugh or ear to bend, swing on by and you’ll find it.  Fresh squeezed juice and house-infused liquors mean delicious hand-made cocktails. 

Enjoy ping pong, horseshoes and conversation in the sunny backyard or stay inside for pool, jukebox and sass from the best bartenders in town.  When you’re here your part of the family – we got your back!”

Let’s look at the evening activities:  Tuesday and Thursday they have DJ NIghts from 8:00 to midnight and on Saturday from 4:00 to midnight. On Wednesday, it’s Open Mic Night from 6:00 to 110:00 PM.  Don’t forget Karoke on Sunday……and periodic movie nights.

And their DJ booth is unique – also a great place to sit when they are not spinning discs.

As a side note, the Rovon Inn used to be the name of the bar prior to the change in ownership in 2012 that brought us Mad Hanna.   It was involved in a dram-shop lawsuit back in 2011 involving a drunken driver who allegedly drank there and at another establishment before being involved in a car wreck that killed a woman in another vehicle.)

While both times I was there, it was a typical Oregon winter day – cold and drizzly, but even so, there were people bundled up on the back patio and I can just visualize the activity during good weather – although as the sign indicates, under control…….!

 

 

 

Earlier I mentioned the tap list, but MH is also known for it house-infused cocktails and jello-shots they have a good collection and get excellent reviews in print and social media:

“……a chalkboard cocktail menu juggling the sublime (“$6.25 Ginger Whiskey Sour”) and ridiculous (“$9 CBD Margarita”).  While most regulars enjoy the well-curated array of mostly local brews, make sure to plunk down $1.50 for a pudding shot—an addictive dollop of soft-serve indulgence that’s become Mad Hanna’s signature libation. As an ideal blend of the playful and potent, the 80 proof is in the pudding.”  Willamette Week June 9, 2018

Now you won’t find an expansive menu here, but they do have some munchies from nachos to hummus and the grilled-cheese sandwich options gets good comments.  And my friend, Jim, paused in our conversation while chowing down on his $4.50 (Happy Hour) peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This post is already too long, but there’s still a bit more to the story.  One factor that can add to or detract from a bar is the “juke box.”  MH’s garners great reviews not only for the music, but the bar’s approach is consistent with the tone set forth above:

 ……a special note – check out the jukebox here – it has such a great mix, everything from punk to classic country to ROBYN! don’t be afraid to throw in a few quarters and dance, also don’t be shocked if strangers join in too! its a real friendly place 🙂Yelp 7/8/14  (For those out of the cultural mainstream, ROBYN is a Swedish singer and songwriter…..)

Fantastic juke box, but who the heck is ROBYN??

Regardless of whether one considers Mad Hanna a dive or a neighborhood bar, it warrants a visit.

You will see evidence of the comfortable vibe mentioned in this post whether it is seeing a poster about a benefit to help an ailing bartender or resident of the neighborhood,  having a chat with one of the amiable bartenders or even hitting the bathroom – it also has character!

Further evidence of “community”

You should take the advice of this 6/9/18 Yelp reviewer who stated:

“Probably the coolest place I’ve been to in a long time. I will be going back to this place whenever I’m in town!”  6/9/18

And if you run out of conversation topics, you might want to revisit the interpretation of the Reed Ethics Code.  Alternatively, you could discuss the recent article, “What is a Reedie Anyway?”

Mad Hanna  6129 NE Fremont