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.

 

 

The Horse Brass Pub – Pinnacle of Perfection

The Horse Brass Pub - One of America's 100 Best Beer Bars

Thebeerchaser at The Horse Brass Pub – One of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars

Although the power and prestige of England have diminished since the days of Admiral Nelson’s exploits for the Royal Navy in the 18th century and Winston Churchill’s fiery oratory during World War II, one is reminded of the superiority of the Brits when it comes to pubs.

It is doubtful that English poet, John Milton, was referencing drinking establishments when he stated in 1643, “Let not England forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live”.  The Horse Brass Pub in Portland, however, does a wonderful job emulating the classic English public house and is worth a visit by every Portlander. “Arguably, holding the title of Portland’s best bar since in opened in 1976…It’s a tribute to all thing English.” (Willamette Week’s 2012 “Our 105 Favorite Bars, Pubs and Clubs.”)

Sign at the Entrance to the Horse Brass Pub

Sign at the Entrance to the Horse Brass Pub

Along with five other Portland bars, the Horse Brass Pub (HPB) made the honor roll of the 2012 Draft Magazine’s “One Hundred Best Beer Bars in the USA”:

“….Founder, Don Younger…claimed, ‘If it were any more authentic, you’d need a passport,’ he wasn’t kidding….Bric-a-brac adorns the nicotine-stained walls (from the old smoking days) of this dimly-lit, wood-paneled pub, perfectly recreating the neighborhood haunts of England….

HBP has championed the craft beer movement since 1976, and with its legacy still intact as perhaps the best bar in the nation, it isn’t just a destination in Portland, but a bucket-list item for any beer lover.”

Horsebrass

English Horsebrass Featuring Gloucester Cathedral

My San Francisco friend and consultant, Dave Hicks, and I hit the HBP for dinner and then traveled a short distance to another one of Draft Magazine’s 100 Best – Belmont Station (See Beerchaser Review posted on 4/17/13)

Princeton graduate, accomplished singer and beer drinker, Dave Hicks

Princeton graduate, accomplished singer and beer drinker, Dave Hicks

Hicks has traveled all over the world and commented on the authenticity of the pub except for one missing element — pervasive smoke which permeates the Anglican pub environment — or at least used to before the House of Commons passed a smoking ban in 2007.

Based on the 2009 expansion of the Oregon “Smoke-free Workplace Law bars and taverns could no longer permit smoking on or within ten feet of the premises.  We are confident that the cigarette lobby at the time, taking lessons from the NRA in opposing reasonable legislation, maintained, “Cigarettes don’t kill people.  It’s the tars, and toxins in the smoke.”  

Wikiemedia Commons Adverse_effects_of_tobacco_smoking_svg

Graphic of a typical bar worker’s internal organs prior to the 2009 Oregon Smoking Law

Nevertheless, this law had a dramatic impact on the environment within such establishments as the Horse Brass Pub as can be evidenced by these excerpts from my favorite annual Willamette Week resource on bars:

“Surgeon General’s Warning:  Smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema and shriveled testes.  (The new law) also leads to outdoor drinking, rain or shine, which can lead to frostbit, melanoma and accidental arousal from rubbing against another addict while taking refuge under a tiny awning….”  (“2009 Drink Guide”)                 

     Wikimedia Commons

“There used to be two types of customers here (HBP): smokers and chain smokers.  The 2009 smoking ban devastated regulars. (They all died said a bartender).  (“2011 Drink”)                 

“We worried that (the new law) would spell the end of …(the) venerable Brit Pub…Not because the 33-year old bar…wouldn’t retain its loyal patrons, but because we assumed its billowing, milkshake-thick clouds of cigarette smoke were load bearing structural elements of the building without which the sprawling pub would collapse.”  (“2009 Drink Guide”)

 

Coffin nail or structural element?
Coffin nail or structural element?

“What will become of Don Younger’s sprawling pub in 2009?  After the encyclopedic beer list and heart-stopping English breakfasts, this slice of Britain on Belmont is best known for air so thick with smoke, you could bottle it.”  (“2007 Drinkers’ Bible”)

Another often-cited difference in beer served in the US and the typical English tavern is the temperature of the beer.  For example, Hicks and I had wonderful chilled mugs of Portland Brewing’s Rose Hip Gold and Caldera Brewing’s Dry Hop Orange, which if served 4,928 miles to the east, would not be quite as frosty.  (Although it is a misconception that British beer is served warm, beer in the UK is usually served at cellar temperature – 50 to 57 °F. – Wikipedia).

This is not to suggest that English beer is bad as exemplified by this commentary from Voltaire on both British citizens and their beer:, “They (the British) are like their own beer; froth on top, dregs at bottom, the middle excellent.”

Rose Hip Gold --- Even Better on Tap

Rose Hip Gold — Even Better on Tap

The 50+ different beers on tap at HPB, including 28 rotating or guest taps, create dissonance for an indecisive drinker.  They reflect what was purportedly Don Younger’s motto, “It’s not about the beer.  It’s about the beer.”

______________________________________________

A Comment on the 2013 Willamette Week Bar Guide (Horse Brass review continued below)

A Valuable Resource for Thebeerchaser Tour
A Valuable Resource for Thebeerchaser Tour

As evidenced above, an important resource for this blog is the Annual Willamette Week Drinkers’ Bible or Bar Guide.  Indeed, Thebeerchaser’s printed copies for the last five years of this annual list of favorite Portland bars is a valuable resource.

The enormity of the challenge of a comprehensive tour of Portland bars, pubs and taverns hit home when I read the 2013 publication.  WW listed 121 favorite bars visited in the last year.  This compares with 41 establishments since Thebeerchaser blog commenced in August 2011.

Of WW’s favorites, Thebeerchaser has only frequented nine to this point as shown below:

Brooklyn Park Pub     Coalition Brewery     Beer     Prost     Laurel Thirst     Lutz Tavern

Goose Hollow Inn     Sasquatch Brewery *     Horse Brass Pub

* Visited, but not yet reviewed and posted on Thebeerchaser blog.

To quote Alfred Lord Tennyson, “So much to do, so little done, such things to be.”

_______________________________________________________________________

Horse Brass InteriorThe rich history of the Horse Brass Pub, established in 1976, can be found on its outstanding website and gives a more thorough chronology than can Thebeerchaser, but the decades of founder, Don Younger’s impact, are evident throughout.  His dedication to the fledgling craft beer industry in Oregon is his legacy.

Memorabilia enhances the Ambiance

Memorabilia enhances the Ambiance

It would be a stretch to label the food as “outstanding”; however, the menu is extensive and offers numerous English-type options.  My bangers and mash were good and ample and Dave Hicks had a similar reaction to his steak and shepherd’s pie.

And oh yes, before ending the review of the Horse Brass Pub, a recurring theme on this blog bears iteration.  Just as with the Ship Tavern and Jakes, the HBP was purportedly the scene of a simultaneous gathering of approximately twenty Portland police cars one summer night in the ’80’s.

Members of the Portland Rugby Club and the team from New Zealand they had defeated in their match that day, capped off the day with food, drink and “revelry” — Film at 11:00 ….!

The Horse Brass Pub                    4534 S.E. Belmont

Beerchaser Miscellany V

“They Stopped Drinking There Today….”

Down and Out.....

Joe’s Cellar   —  Down and Out…..

Last month, Joe’s Cellar, the fourth stop on Thebeerchaser’s Tour (“Step Up to Joe’s Cellar” – 9/17/2011) served its last Budweiser and “Pork De-Lite” lunch (a pork chop, two eggs, cottage cheese and tomato slices for $7.50).

Unfortunately this great dive bar, in an historic building on NW 21st – down towards the industrial section rather than the trendy shops and cafes farther south – closed after Portland code officials condemned the building.  Now the legendary ’50 style bistro and the lounge – one which had a Happy Hour at 7A.M. for the factory workers getting off night shift – is gone for good.

Similary, the Original Safari Club in Estacada (Beerchaser post on 3/18/13) has gone out of business and a report in Willamette Week, also says another historic dive bar, the Black Cat in Sellwood, has closed because of building problems. The latter was on Thebeerchaser’s list for a future visit – sob!!

"Whose Gonna Fill Their Shoes?"

“Whose Gonna Fill Their (His) Shoes?”

And another legend sang his last tune in April when country crooner, George Jones, died.  A verse from his hit vocal, “Bartender’s Blues,” written by James Taylor, was featured in a post on this blog on November 9, 2011.

“Well I’m just a bartender And I don’t like my work, But I don’t mind the money at all.  I’ve seen lots of sad faces, And lots of bad cases of folks with their backs to the wall

But I got four walls around me, to hold my life.    To keep me from going astray.  And a honky-tonk angel, to hold me tight to keep me from slipping away.”

Ruggers – Some Other Legendary Bar Guys

A Gorilla (?)  and Scholar......
A Gorilla (?) and Scholar……

Jay Waldron is an outstanding Portland environmental and energy lawyer who practices at the Schwabe Williamson firm.  Jay wasted 40% of his undergraduate study years and spent the other 60% drinking and partying at Providence College.  He appears to have changed his ways while both getting his Masters in English and graduating from one of the nations leading law schools at the University of Virginia.

Somewhere along the way, (Some say it happened when he heard the motto, “Lose the first two letters of ‘scrum’ and drink what’s left,”) Jay started playing rugby and his passion for the sport evolved into playing, coaching and broadcasting rugby on a regional, national and international level and stints as a director of the U.S. Rugby Foundation. He reminded me after reading the December 2012 post (“All Hands on Deck at The Ship Tavern”), that this great dive bar had once been the site of the Portland Rugby Club’s ”Book and Brew” discussions.

A Shrine to Ruggers??

A Shrine to Ruggers??

The Glory Days...

The Glory Days…The 14th Annual Blitz Weinhard Rugby Tournament in 1976

He also urged me to visit the “shrine,” of sorts, to ruggers in the bar at Jakes.

Yes, I was skeptical, but these pictures attest to the fact that an alcove 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:                                                     Haywood Letter

“….. 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……

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.”

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

Surely you Jest....

Surely you Jest….

“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 .

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 cleanly.”

Now, while we do not condone social upheaval in bars, there should be consensus that unless you’re a client, it is better to hear Waldron’s authentic 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.

From the Rugger Archives..

From the Rugger Archives..

Thebeerchaser is conducting some additional research to determine if there is any other info on this historic incident to update you.  For example, were there eight “gorillas” or three participants?  There is a Steven G. Haywood, who is a “Think Tank Professional” in San Diego who is approximately 60 years old …. who might be the victim – er, guy!

New Bar Opening in N Portland

A new bar in North Portland will be having its Grand Opening on May 11th.  Check out the brews and food menu at the Lost and Found not too far from the University of Portland at   5426 N. Gay Street – right off Killingsworth.  Let’s try to help the two young women owners, who have a vision, achieve their dream and see if they can deliver on their promise below:

“While you sip fresh-made signature cocktails, craft beer, or local wine, you can enjoy the truly unique atomic Northwest atmosphere, custom-made works of art, great music, delicious snacks, and a huge patio. And you can rest easy knowing you are in the care of the friendliest and hardest working staff in the entire city.”

Emotional Disequilibrium, Rotating Metaphors and “On Bullshit”

A Masterpiece by Dr. Harry Frankfurt
A Masterpiece by Dr. Harry Frankfurt

 Dr. Harry Frankfurt, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, wrote a brief but brilliant and witty book  – On Bullshit. His marvelous work was quoted extensively in this blog when Dr. Frankfurt was named Thebeerchaser-of-the-Month in January, 2012.

I thought of the good professor when I read this excerpt from a recent interview of David Shields, a University of Washington Professor and author, who gave this response to one question:

“What I am good at, I think, I hope, is meditating with rigor and candor on my emotional disequilibrium and trying to rotate that out as metaphor so it comes to feel, God forbid, somewhat universal and it makes the reader feel as Phillip Lopate says, ‘less freakish and more human.'”   (For the unwashed, Phillip Lopate is a writer, media critic and professor of English at Hofstra University.)

Shields has written fourteen books including some on sports.  While he is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington, and his latest book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, was a New York Times bestseller, his statement led me to the following conclusions:

  •  I would not want to have a beer with Shields, and if he frequented a bar where there were ruggers, they would cut his shirt off (as an academic he would not deign to wear a tie) and run him out of the bar after he uttered his second sentence.
  •  While there were a few favorable reviews, the U.W. students who wrote the following reviews should have the pleasure of listening to Dr. Frankfurt in lecture, instead of Shields:

” I learned almost nothing from this class.  He accepted very few deviating opinions; not available outside of class at all. Find another prose teacher ASAP.”

“I never got the impression that he actually wanted to be there, or had any interest in helping students improve, and certainly didn’t seem to want to actually read any student writing. He only wants you to listen in awe while he muses about why fiction is so useless. He thinks everything he has to say about writing is gospel and it gets old fast.”

“David Shields is a nice guy. But he’s kind of a snob. He told us in class repeatedly he didn’t think we were capable of any “good” writing because we were too young, had too little experience.”

Author and Philosphy Professor is January Beerchaser of the Month

Dr. Frankfurt  — This is the Professor to whom you want to listen and with whom you want to drink a beer.

Or to quote On Bullshit:

When we characterize talk as hot air, we mean that what comes out of the speaker’s mouth is only that. It is mere vapor.  His speech is empty, without substance or content.  His use of language accordingly does not contribute to the purpose it purports to serve.”  

Now perhaps Thebeerchaser is not erudite enough to appreciate Shields need to pontificate although a reviewer of his two books (How Literature Saved My Life, and Reality Hunger: A Manifesto  in the 2/13 New York Times seems to agree.  Maybe it would be worth having a beer with Shields rather than making a big inferential leap about his pomposity from one interview.  I think, however,  I’ll pass and drink with a regular at The Ship Tavern.

Thebeerchaser Tour Continues…..                            

Naomi affirms legacy of great servers...

Beerchasers of the past at Gold Dust Meridian on Hawthorne

After almost 21 months since the commencement of this blog, Thebeerchaser has visited forty-one bars, pubs, taverns and breweries.  Forty-three of you follow this blog regularly and it received view number 12,000 last month – beerchasers from all over the world. 

If you have an establishment that should be visited in the future, please leave a comment on the blog.

Go Beavs 00002

A Hobby Cultivated at The University

All Hands on Deck at the Ship Tavern

The Ship with Two Regulars in the “Smoking Lounge”

“The Ship isn’t anything to write home to Mom about . . . heck it probably isn’t even a place I would tell my Mom I went . . . but it knows what/who it is.” (Yelp/9/17/11)

I wanted to hit a tavern on the west side for the next stop on Thebeerchaser tour.  My  Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt colleague, John Mansfield, and I were meeting former  Schwabe lawyer, Chris Lewis, and Multnomah Village seemed to be a good location.  I was drawn to The Ship Tavern (hereafter “The Ship.”)

Mansfield and Lewis — Not the Physique, but each has the face, if not the intellect of a Rugby Player.

A little due diligence almost resulted in a veto, however.  Jay Waldron is also a Schwabe lawyer – one of the best environmental and energy lawyers in the NW and a man of varied interests.  When I was the COO at Schwabe, he used to motivate me with quotes such as that from Scottish writer and essayist, Thomas Carlyle, “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.” (The quote seems appropriate for a post about this bar…..)

Not a rugby player, but like Waldron, a strict Cavlinist

Not a rugby player, but like Waldron, a strict Calvinist

Waldron is a director of the U.S. Rugby Foundation and has played, coached and broadcast rugby on a regional, national and international level. He has also been on whitewater rafting expeditions (successfully tackling the Upper Yangtze River in China) and motorcycle adventure trips on six continents.

A man of varied interests who has visited The Ship

Jay is a follower of this blog and was very positive about The Ship even noting that it had been a long-ago hangout, of sorts, for Portland Rugby Club players.  This raised some initial concerns on my part as I wanted to drink from a glass rather than eat one……A little more research, however, uncovered the fact that their impact was relatively mundane – the site of the Rugby Club’s “Book and Brew” discussions which will be addressed below.

The Ship is the epitome of a dive bar.  Quoting from one of Thebeerchaser’s posts (September, 2011) and the notable reference book, “Seattle’s Best Dive Bars,”  this 70 + year Multnomah Village institution fit the definition to a tee:

” “Some dives have vomit-caked toilet seats in the bathroom; others have cracked vinyl booths in the barroom.  Some have nicotine-stained murals dating back to the Depression; others have drink prices that seemingly haven’t wavered since then……..But really, no collection of characteristics can be melded to truly define what makes a bar a dive…..The term ‘dive’ is bestowed with a spoonful of love….What they have in common aren’t so much attributes, but a state of mind — you just know one when you see one.”  (Seattle’s Best Dive Bars by Mike Seely – pages 9-10)

An Invaluable Resource for Thebeerchaser

In the words of one Portland patron: “The Ship is simply your quintessential dive bar……It’s an ultra local joint with good history…….that dark and dank local bar with a handful of guys in trucker hats and grey mustache’s…..”(Yelp 2/29/12)       

—————-       

The Bar at The Ship

  Distinguishing Characteristics

Da Bears…..The Ship is a Chicago hangout as evidenced by the fact that any time The Bears, the Cubs or the White Sox play, Pabst Old Style Beer – A Chicago favorite –  is $1.50 per can and margaritas and blood mary’s are $3.50.  Debbie, the friendly bartender, emphasized, “This doesn’t apply to Blackhawk games – we’re not big on hockey.”        

Ditka Would Love The Ship

Mike Ditka Would Love The Ship

And for Bear fans, every Sunday during football season they “offer meals that are themed after the opposing team.” 

For example, on a recent Sunday when they played the Minnesota Vikings, the special was “Tator-tot Hotdish” and Caesar Salad for $5.50.  According to Wikipedia, Hotdish is a variety of baked casserole that typically contains a starch, a meat or other protein, and a canned and/ or frozen vegetable, mixed with canned soup.  The dish is popular in Minnesota and North Dakota.”

Harry Carey (RIP) Would be Proud

————————

What do  You Mean Credit???   The Ship may be one of the few bars or pubs in Portland to totally disdain credit cards.  It’s cash only and no tabs – pay as you imbibe!  Times change, however.  Last year was the first time The Ship offered liquor and Candace, the Manager, (who was also very helpful) said they might consider credit next year.                     

All of the people in the photo collage at The Ship have one thing in common -- they paid cash for their beer!

All of the people in the photo collage at The Ship have one thing in common — they paid cash for their beer!


Peanut Demolition Day – Each Thursday – the day we were there –  each table has free peanuts in the shell all day.  The shells hit the floor when you discard them……..

Other Interesting Fixtures – You will see five TVs, a bunch of video poker terminals, one old-fashioned pinball game (“Medieval Madness – King of Evil”) and while many bars have video games, the one at The Ship was particularly interesting and fitting i.e. “Big Buck Hunter.”

Doe Tags are Not Valid on This Machine

Doe Tags are Not Valid on This Machine

The rules on the two pool tables are also worth noting.  If you drop a cue, the fine is 25 cents and 50 cents if a ball goes off the pool table – according to Debbie, the bartender, it is a “maintenance fund” for pool table repairs.

You will find no menus at The Ship.  The food, which is what  you would expect at a dive bar – that’s a compliment – is on a blackboard above the bar.

From L to R - Debbie and Candace standing below "The Menu"

From L to R – Debbie and Candace standing below “The Menu”

———

The Juke Box at many bars will reveal a little about the regulars.  When you want to play it at The Ship, you inform the bartender so the stereo can be turned off.  The “hottest plays” were the following:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – “Get a Job”

Bad Company“Bad Company”

The Raconteurs “Steady as She Goes”

Waylon Jennings – “Good-Hearted Woman”

"Hey Debbie - Turn off the Stereo"
“Hey Debbie – Turn off the Stereo”

And the Rugby Club’s past  “Book and Brew” discussions???  As an example, there was heated debate on the non-fiction classic, “The Iron Man – How Shelby Donovan Revolutionized the Chicago Dry Cleaning Industry” and some awkward moments when former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh’s presentation, “What Can Your Rug Be?”  was not quite what the rugged jocks expected…….

The scene at The Ship during a heated debate by "The Beef and Brew" group.

The scene at The Ship during a heated debate by “The Book and Brew” group.

——-

My apologies to Jay Waldron for the above, although he deserves legitimate credit for his perfect delivery of one of Thebeerchaser’s favorite bar jokes at the City Club of Portland when he was a presenter on Metro area transportation planning two years ago:

“A traffic engineer walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says to the bartender, ‘Give me two beers –  one for me and one for the road.”

The Asphalt prefers Budweiser....

The Asphalt prefers Budweiser….with an oil chaser…..

—————-

The Ship has been in the same location since 1946 and this site of a former garage has big-time history and character. Visit The Ship and remember the intent of James Lawrence’s (skipper of the USS Chesapeake)  famous last declaration in 1813 – paraphrased – “Give up the Ship??? — Knot!!”         

Three rotating taps -- microbrews and all these beers in cans available...

Three rotating taps plus several microbrews and the old standards like PBR on tap —  plus all these beers available in bottles and cans…

The Ship Tavern             7827 SW 35th Ave                       Portland