The 2011 Willamette Week Drink Guide states, “(The Goose Hollow Inn), brainchild of Bud Clark, Portland’s most universally beloved mayor continues into its fifth decade as a kind of principled experiment in the civic virtue of the bull session.”
The assessment of Bud Clark’s term as Mayor has obviously not changed since 2011…..Indeed, if there is a Portland bar (and its owners) that embodies what makes Portlanders never want to leave our City, it’s the Goose Hollow Inn. From the 2012 Willamette Week 105 Favorite Bars, Pubs and Clubs:
“The five-decades old joint is everything you’d expect from a placed owned by Clark since 1967 — that is, a cabin-style pub with wooden benches adorned with old photos and campaign posters of Clark, with wrap-around porch….”
To experience the true flavor of this “institution,” however, you need to talk to the original owner himself. Thebeerchaser, Portland attorney, Jim Westwood and retired Oregonian columnist, John Terry, had this opportunity for a “very short” ninety minutes with Bud on a Tuesday afternoon in July.
Bud Clark, after attending Portland’s Lincoln High School, continued his education in 1952 at Vanport Center and then PSU before leaving for the Korean War.
He reminisced about his time as a bartender at the long gone Jerry’s Gables (where the $1.25 special included half of a hamburger, potato salad and garlic bread), his ownership of the Spatenhaus – his first bar which was located at the site of the present Keller Auditorium, and buying the Goose in 1967.
He regaled us with stories about the Expose Yourself to Art poster (originally intended to raise funds for a 1977 public health campaign to “Zap the Clap”). The Portland Art Museum was not interested in the poster and the original photographer, Michael Ryerson, printed them and sold them for $1 at Waterfront Park – 250,000 were sold by 1984 and now it is displayed in the Smithsonian!
David Kish, the owner of another bar – The Storm Cellar Tavern – who ultimately served as Portland’s Director of General Services and Clark’s Chief of Staff, told me that Bud donated his proceeds from the poster to the NW Examiner (Neighborhood Newspaper). Kish, before he worked for the City, also served as salesperson for the poster and patrons of his bar could buy the poster and a beer for a buck! Kish also related how when Bud told his friends about his plans to buy the bar in Goose Hollow that the reaction was, “You might as well be in Hillsboro…”
And there was his campaign against Frank Ivancie (“Ivancie Terrible” as labeled by former Oregon Journal columnist, Doug Baker) where Ivancie used the poster as an example of Clark’s lack of judgement. Ivancie mistakenly believed that people would vote for Clark only out of morbid curiosity, and the bar owner and political outsider’s campaign was a lark. Both Westwood and Clark remembered their mutual friend, coach (of Westwood’s GE College Bowl Team) and campaign advisor, PSU Professor, Ben Padrow.
The Mayor was known for his favorite greeting, “Whoop Whoop.”” Bud told us (and Kish elaborated) that this exclamation originated in an attempt to imitate the mating call of a pet guinea pig named George Raft…..
“By the late 1960’s, Goose Hollow faced the bulldozers of ‘urban renewal’ and the neighborhood name had fallen out of common usage for several decades. Bud Clark’s strategy to rename a tavern he purchased in the hollow as the Goose Hollow Inn to help rekindle civic regard the neighborhood, and prevented the … name from fading away.”
The Food – A great menu including salads, sandwiches (notable roast beef and pizza) – headed, of course, by “The Best Reuben on the Planet” described in one review as: “a deliciously oozing pile of corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese.”
The History, Character and Values of the Owners – Clark stated that before the advent of microbrews, the Goose served only three beers and Budweiser was King. Before he took office in 1984, the Goose sold 180 kegs of Budweiser per month and was recognized as selling more Bud per square foot than any bar in the United States. He chuckled relating how when he was away his wife, Sigrid, who was managing the bar, added what is now a wonderful deck, but the additional square footage lost them the Budweiser top ranking.
Examples of the values include:
Meatless Mondays – Bud instituted this concept in the ’60’s to remind people of the GIs fighting in Viet Nam while all of us lived in comfort back in the States.
Smokeless Tuesdays – Long before Oregon law forbid it, patrons refrained from coffin nails once each week — and it was enforced.
Environmental Ethics – According to Kish, who is an environmental energy expert and once directed the Oregon Dept. of Energy, Bud implemented some innovative solar energy options in the Goose long before State tax credits and availability in the marketplace. Bud also “kicked out Budweiser” and stopped selling it for a period when Anheuser Busch opposed the Oregon Bottle Bill in 1971.
Family – The Clark family has been instrumental in the Goose Hollow Neighborhood and family values are pervasive in their businesses. Rachael, Bud’s daughter, now is the manager of the Inn. She joined us for the discussion and talked about the emphasis on a customer service ethic. She also refuted the one negative comment in scads of complimentary reviews: “My friend had to pay an extra $1.00 for the Au Jus on a French Dip Sandwich.” Rachael said, “I tried to contact the guy to tell him that we did not have French Dip Sandwiches on the menu at all then, but he never responded.”
Fehrenbacher is the family name of Sigrid Fehrenbacher Clark, Oregon Symphony violinist and business partner in the pub. The Clarks also operated an outdoor store and antique shop. The family carries on with the tavern and an excellent little coffee shop – Fahrenbachers Hof immediately adjacent to the Inn – one that got excellent reviews for the coffee, staff and food.
The Goose Hollow Inn is a wonderful pub in all respects. Thebeerchaser gained a new perspective on what a treasure the Clark Family is to Portland. Stop by and have a draft and then top it off with a cup of coffee at Fehrenbacher’s Hof next door.
It is fitting to conclude with Bud’s motto for the Inn:
“Dedicated to Quality Draft, Fine Food, Pleasant Music and Stimulating Company. We’re also dedicated to extremes of opinion, hoping that a livable marriage will result. If physical violence is your nature, either develop your verbal abilities or leave.”