The Marathon Taverna – What’s(a) in(a) a Name(a) ?(a)?

Not what you might expect!

Not what you might expect!

While working in downtown Portland for over thirty years, I would often promise myself that I would pay a visit to the Marathon – a bar housed in an interesting looking building on W. Burnside not too far from Providence Park (aka Civic Stadium).  I figured it was a dive bar with an eclectic group of regulars with a storied history – like some of the classic dive bars I’ve reviewed – Joe’s Cellar in NW Portland and the Ship Tavern in Multnomah Village were stellar.     P1020721

Perhaps it will keep you from reading the remainder of this post, but I was sorely disappointed by this watering hole – a pseudo sports bar with a paucity of character and little to distinguish it.

We should have instead opted for the nearby Cheerful BullPen, which has more character or Claudia’s with a rich history.

The saving grace was being accompanied by Beerchaser regular and Beerchaser-of-the Quarter Jack Faust and his son, Charlie.  Their company and conversation could make a discussion on the Rule Against Perpetuities seem interesting or make a soccer match ending in a scoreless tie, stimulating.  (I would get into trouble by suggesting more globally that such would be the case for any soccer match…..)

Faust & Son with Thebeerchaser logo

The Fausts with thebeerchaser logo

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but one or both have joined me for great trips to the Buffalo Gap Saloon, the Grand Cafe and Bailey’s TapRoomJack’s daughter, Portland radio personality, Amy Faust (99.5 The Wolf), recently Beerchased with us at the Rookery (review still pending).

Upon entering the Marathon Taverna, I raised the question as to why there was an “a” at the end of the word tavern. A taverna is defined as a small Greek café or restaurant.

Not the character or ambiance one would expect on West Burnside

Not the character or ambiance one would expect on West Burnside

There wasn’t any moussaka or souvlaki on the menu and no retsina wine or even ouzo or Mextexa Brandy to drink.  Alas, the only things Greek in this watering hole were Faust who was a Sigma Chi at Oregon, Thebeerchaser – an SAE at Oregon State and a few gyro sandwiches.  Socrates would not be impressed with that line-up.

And what’s with the name Marathon?  The website mentions that the bar – opened in 1974, was originally located in the Acropolis Tavern – also a well known Portland strip club, but whether this heritage is accurate could not be verified.

To better understand the lure of the Marathon, Charlie Faust suggested that instead of driving, we start in Marion County in the city of Donald.  A run to Portland with a short side-trip around Forest Park – would yield a route of 26.2 miles.   We would therefore honor the Greek soldier Pheidippides – who was reported to have died in 490 BC after his run from Marathon to Athens to proclaim the Greek victory over the Persians.  Before dying, he shouted, “We have won!”

I thought this would be fitting, since these are the same words Jack uttered when he represented Bing Russell and the Portland Mavericks in the now famous arbitration with Major League Baseball in the 1970’s and chronicled in the great new documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball.”

Jack Faust ordering a beer from the Marathon Bartender
Jack Faust ordering a beer from the Marathon Bartender

Jack, however, based on his undergraduate and law school days at the University of Oregon, countered with the suggestion that we each drink 8.75 pints of beer to arrive at the 26.2 milestone.  Looking at the photos below will demonstrate that his idea could offer some synchronicity, but his son and I demurred.

Jack Faust drinking a beer at the U of O after a 26 mile swim

Jack Faust drinking a beer at the U of O after a 26 mile swim

 

But we digress.  What was good about the Marathon Taverna?  Well, they have free popcorn – not a Greek dish, but still very good.  There are also a lot of TVs with different sporting events, if that’s what you like with your beer.  A small, but ardent group of  Portland Timber supporters was watching a match on one of the TVs –  20 high definition and a giant 92-inch monster.

Not Mediterranean, but free.
Not Mediterranean, but free.

There are nineteen reasonably-priced beers and also cocktails on their menu – but neither is listed on their website.

A number of reviews are positive about the gyros and the cheeseburgers – and their $2.00 breakfasts served until 2:00 P.M.  But the rather agressive and surly attitude of the staff was also mentioned multiple times in reviews – a downside, especially as you enter.

And this may be because of the physical layout confronting you when entering the bar – the only such arrangement I have seen in visiting over 50 bars in Portland.

There is a bouncer – a security guy, of sorts – sitting at a dias or throne-type arrangement which makes him look – and possibly act like Alexander the Great.  The “welcome” signs shout out, “No soliciting and “No Trespassing.”

Power hungry??

Power hungry??

Portland Barfly sums up this issue and the overall atmosphere of the venue quite well:

The  loyal shift of elderly patrons and the unsmiling doorman – those regulars may have been arriving every morning the past fifty years, but they’d best have their ID on hand to enter – are the only traces of The Marathon’s rather-more-dangerous past.

Plenty of TVs, but where are the grizzled regulars?

Plenty of TVs, but where are the grizzled regulars?

Weekend nights have largely been overtaken by a large, tight-knit, metal-happy, pool-playing, irritatingly-attractive group of twenty-somethings seemingly brought en masse from Beaverton for reasons beyond our imaginings.”

 A sentiment echoed by this excerpt from a City Search review:   Great place with horrible irrational staff – This used to be one of my favorite places until the last two times I’ve gone there, the bouncers have gotten extremely aggressive and kicked me out for no reason.”

Now perhaps the bar’s management feels that they need this type of defensive screening based on its Burnside location although the only altercation I could find occurred in 2008, and did not seem to be too savage.  As reported in Willamette Week:

A University of Portland grad is suing a Vancouver man for subjecting him to an uninvited bear hug outside a dive bar on West Burnside Street. In a lawsuit filed Sept. 10 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Patrick Geraghty claims that Brian Yoakum and his friends were standing outside the Marathon Taverna on Sept. 13, 2008.

Yoakum, “without warning, clutched [Geraghty] in a ‘bear hug’ and twisted [Geraghty’s] body after securing said hold,” the lawsuit says. Geraghty suffered a broken right foot as a result, according to the lawsuit. The suit, filed by Portland lawyer Sanam Dowlatdad, seeks seeks $75,000 for medical bills and lost wages, plus $500,000 for pain and suffering.

We don’t know if this suit settled or was tried, but for those wondering, Sanam Dowlatdad, after graduating from Willamette Law School, worked as Multnomah County Deputy DA and then at the Cosgrove Vergeer Kester law firm, before establishing her own firm in 2011.

Charlie Faust and Thebeerchaser - good company but no ambiance.

Charlie Faust and Thebeerchaser – good company but no ambiance.

No Greek national flag either.....

No Greek national flag either…..(Faust and Son)

And the only other egregious conduct recorded is that of Welches area con-man named, David Wilson.  Several years ago he purportedly tried to scam those at the Marathon and nearby establishments by stating that he was desperate for a loan because he’d lost his wallet at a Timbers game and couldn’t get his car out of the parking lot.

 

I guess if you just want nothing more than a cheap beer and to watch a sporting event, hit the Marathon.  But unless you can get the Fausts to join you or maybe start running from a mile and one-half east of the Vista House on the Columbia River Highway – it would allow your marathon to finish at the Marathon – it may not be fulfilling.

 

Marathon Taverna           1735 West Burnside

 

 

 

 

 

John R. (Jack) Faust – Fall 2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Wikimedia Commons - public domain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jack_faust.jpg)

This blog has recognized a number of individuals over the last three years as Thebeerchaser-of-the-Quarter or Month.  Why?  Because they have either distinguished themselves in their profession or for their contribution to society.  In the case of the first “honoree,” retired chemist Harold Schlumberg (August 2011) – just because of his approach to life.

Some of those tapped for this laurel include my friends, Jud Blakely (September 2013) and Steve Lawrence, (May 2014) for their military service in Viet Nam – a conflict in which both were awarded the Bronze Star.  Three authors, Portland’s Brian Doyle (Feb. 2014); Princeton Professor Emeritus, Harry Frankfurt, (Jan. 2012) the author of the brilliant tome, On Bullshit and crime novelist, James Crumley (Sept. 21011) were named because I loved their books.

This quarter, we are recognizing one of Oregon’s preeminent appellate lawyers and citizens, John R. Jack Faust.          faust picture from directory

Jack skipped first grade (either because of his advanced intellect or disciplinary issues) and went on to graduate from Jefferson High School – the alma mater of his future law partners at the law firm of Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, former Congressman Wendell Wyatt and now a senior judge in U.S. District Court, Ancer Haggerty.

After undergraduate school at U of O, Faust distinguished himself at the University of Oregon School of Law, serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review and graduating first in his 1953 class, receving the Phi Delta Phi Award for Outstanding Graduate – Pacific N. W.. ( He has great tales of legendary professor Orlando J. Hollis.)  After military service, he first  practiced at the law firm of Cake, Butler & McKewan, and in 1979 moved to the Schwabe firm.

Charlie and Jack Faust Beerchasing at Bailey's Taproom.

Charlie and Jack Faust Beerchasing at Bailey’s Taproom

He practiced corporate, appellate and general law and represented public utilities, insurance companies, baseball teams (see below), public officials and did a lot of pro-bono work.

Jack served as President of both the Multnomah Bar Association and Vice President of the Oregon State Bar and was selected by his peers for listings in Best Lawyers in Portland and Best Lawyers in America.

Friend, fellow spook and another great Oregon appellate lawyer, Jim Westwood.

Friend, fellow spook and another great Oregon appellate lawyer, Jim Westwood

 

Like his colleague and friend, Jim WestwoodBeerchaser-of-the-Quarter in March 2013 – our new honoree is a former “spook” (both served in military intelligence) and both are recognized for the legal accomplishments.   Westwood’s description of his friend, Faust, is shown below.

And Westwood is qualified to offer an opinion.  Jim has handled more than 200 appeals and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, listed in Best Lawyers in America and an Oregon Super Lawyer.

“Like Jack Faust, I’m an appellate lawyer. I am 0-2 against him. In the second one I gave a stemwinder of an opening argument, then Jack got up and said to the judges, ‘I don’t have anything unless you have questions.’   They didn’t, he sat down, and he won. That’s Faust, the lawyer who also represented owner Bing Russell of the Portland Mavericks against Major League Baseball and cleaned MLB’s clock. He is not only the Beerchaser of the Quarter – he is The Man.”  (This is a compliment to Faust’s brief, his judgment and his ego.)

We will describe his acclaimed legal career and his civic contributions below, but Jack Faust, also receives this accolade both because of his sense of humor and his furtherance of Beerchasing concepts.  The latter was first achieved while in college at the University of Oregon as can be seen this photo of him swimming.

Efficiency is a hallmark for his achievements

Jack, the recipient – efficiency and multi-tasking are the hallmarks for his achievements

“Faustmaister”  (not copyrighted) is the label of his home brewed beer – a hobby he has pursued for many years in his basement – the nadir of which was the production of “Raspberry Red.

It was digested by his basement drain rather than a human – other than several swallows to test. (The statute of limitations has tolled on violations of environmental regulations and it was not classified as a Superfund site – possibly because “RR” was brewed before the 1980 enactment of the federal legislation.)

A hydraulic lift he installed to lift the five-gallon kegs of beer enabled uninterrupted brewing when he suffered a triple hernia.

Faustmaister production facilities...

Faustmaister production facilities…

Not only does the Schwabe  firm, have outstanding lawyers, and great people, but one of the factors that makes it such a great place to work is an organizational sense of humor and team work.  Jack Faust is a sterling example, as demonstrated by his e-mail sent to the entire firm in 1999.

Jack sent the missive below shortly after Schwabe joined other law firms in moving to a business-casual dress policy for lawyers.  It shows his wry commentary at some of the changes in the legal profession:

“At the risk of the usual barrage of abuse – please spell my name right in your responses – I report the following:  This morning dressed in ‘business casual’ per SWW Reg. 1-901A(1)(c)(ii), I had just parked my car in the Pac West Center garage and deposited my keys in the box by the parking attendant’s station.  

A fancy car rolled up with a well-dressed woman at the wheel.  She asked me, ‘Do I park it myself or will you park it for me?’  I was about to tell her that I am a lawyer, not a parking attendant, but I was afraid my mother would find out.  It would kill her!”

While serving as COO at Schwabe, I tapped his humor numerous times for lighter moments at firm retreats as can be seen by the video below.  You might also note when viewing, that the co-star is another Beerchaser-of-the-Month (January 2014), Art Vandelay, better known by his colleagues as attorney, Carson Bowler.  You will see from the second “blooper video” that Faust’s quest for a flawless product extends beyond his appellate briefs to his acting……

 

 

Civic and charitable service is a firm core value at Schwabe and Faust was no exception.  They are too extensive to name all, but include, Vice Chair of the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Committee (LCDC), the Oregon Commission on Higher Education, Chair of the Board of Lewis and Clark College and board service for the Portland Opera, Campfire Girls and SEI.  Corporate boards ranging from Equitable Savings to Western Savings Bank to Pacific NW Bell are also on his resume.

Son Charlie and Jack with Thebeerchaser logo at the Marathon Taverna

Son Charlie and Jack with Thebeerchaser logo at the Marathon Taverna

Jack and his son, Charlie, have been Beerchaser regulars. (The Buffalo Gap Saloon, Bailey’s Taproom, the Grand Café and the Marathon Taverna – not yet posted)  Jack helped me line up personal tour of the Grand Café (Beechaser review in January 2013) by Frank-The Flake-Peters when Schwabe’s Product Liability Group visited the bar.

Jack and Frank Peters

Jack and Frank Peters at the Grand Cafe

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He knows Frank well (Frank wrote to him often when Peters served time at the Oregon State Penitentiary) and Faust is a personal friend and represented Bing Russel, the actor and former owner of the Portland Mavericks baseball team when Frank Peters managed.

The escapades of this wonderful minor league team are captured in the recent Net Flix movie “The Battered  Bastards of Baseball,” which has drawn rave reviews nationally.  In fact, Faust appears in the movie because of role as the lawyer who won the $206,000 arbitration award for Russell from the Pacific Coast League – the League’s final pre-arbitration offer was $5,000!

Jack is also well known for his television work – moderating the award-winning (Iris Award for Outstanding Local Public Affairs Program in the Nation) “Town Hall,” on KATU for thirteen years.  The stories about “Town Hall” – filmed live with a small studio audience – essentially a panel (in-the round) of parties vested in the topic with the moderator in the center –  are numerous.

Moderating Town Hall
Moderating Town Hall

Faust is a quick study and after playing tennis in the morning, would go to the KATU studio at noon where staffers would have material and brief him on the topic he studied until the live broadcast at 6:00 P.M.

His stories range from the forum on prostitution which included a number of “participants” in the panel who provided an itemized pricing of various services; a fight in the KATU parking lot between two panel members (a female and a male) after the show, and one on professional wrestling where one of the burly participants demonstrated a headlock on the moderator, and gave a twist whereupon Jack exclaimed, “Jesus!” into his mike.

Ghosts in residence?
Ghosts in residence?

He also recounts the show on ghosts – broadcast on location from Portland’s White Eagle Café (see Thebeerchaser review from Nov. 2012), a venue reported to have a ghost still living in the basement.

Three shows on the Rajneesh and the Bhagwan concluded with two in Rancho Rajneesh – now, Antelope, Oregon. Ma Anand Sheila was the spokesperson for the Bhagwan.  Amy Faust, Jack’s daughter and a local media celebrity, writes a compelling account of these shows in the July, 2014 edition of 1859 Magazine(The first two shows had not gone well for the Followers and they balked at having the third one):

“Then, just one day before the scheduled taping (of the third show), they reversed their stance, sending my dad an apology and a boxed lunch from Zorba the Budha Deli. While my dad remembers his receptionist, Jeannine Marks, saying, ‘I wouldn’t eat that if I were you,’ like a good, waste-not child of the Great Depression, he wolfed it down. ‘What are they going to do,’ he replied, ‘poison me?’

The next day, his producer, India Simmons, got an odd phone call from Ma Prem Sunshine, asking simply, ‘How’s Jack today?”’Sunshine’s tone of voice prompted Simmons to call my dad, who was in fact at home in bed with a fever of 103, horribly sick for the first time since age 5. Not wanting to miss the show, he recruited my mom to drive him to Antelope, feeling nauseous the whole way.          Copyright2003 Samvado Gunnar Kossatz (http://web.org/web/2007/1026130939/http://m31.de/ranch/index.html) Osho Drive By

After a heavy does of Tylenol, he hosted the show, which was indeed more damaging to the Rajneeshee reputation than the previous episodes. In the face of criticism from detractors, the Rajneeshees often broke into loud, disconcerting laughter, and at one point responded to an angry local by bursting into song.”  (Faust’s response in ending the chanting was, “This show is not a musical!”)

One clarification:  When Amy said that Jack had not been sick since the age of five, she did not include the hangover he suffered while in college after the swim shown in the picture above.

For many years, he was the premier emcee for banquets and events all over the state. He’s also met a number of U.S. Presidents as evidenced by this photo.

At the White House with President Reagan
At the White House with President Reagan

 

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He introduced Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Vice President Rockefeller, in addition to numerous US Senators including the late Howard Baker and every Oregon Governor from Tom McCall to Ted Kulongoski (finally a Democrat!!)  Add Gloria Steinham to his list of celebrities when she was in Portland for a fundraiser for former Senator Bob Packwood.

 

Because of his public speaking abilities, Faust was a vital part of the Schwabe firm’s oral communication training for lawyers – including how to introduce speakers.  I had attended this same training and knew most of his tips and naively acquiesced to his request to be his “shill” and introduce him at one of these training sessions.  Of course, I prepared and practiced knowing that he would shred my effort in front of the approximately fifty colleagues who attended – I was not disappointed.

Army Intelligence duty - notice, he has no insignia on his utilities.

Army Intelligence duty – notice, he has no insignia on his uniform

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Our honoree is a wonderful story-teller, although even with the passage of time, about the only thing he is close-mouthed about – even after a few beers – is his role 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.  Remembers the interviews and IQ tests.

Faust at a liaison dinner with Japanese counter-intelligence personnel in Japan.

Faust at a liaison dinner with Japanese counter-intelligence personnel in Japan

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Jack is also a great family man.  He and Alice will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in 2016 and they have three great offspring.  Barbara, the oldest is a retired customer service representative and Charlie, Thebeerchaser regular and a successful Portland mortgage broker.

Amy – who has inherited her father’s media notoriety and is the Amy of Mike and Amy on 99.5 The Wolf – the pair recently returned to air – brought back by listener demand when the station, in 2012, decided to cut corners for on air-personalities after the duo had been together on the station for 13 years.  Several years ago, Jack co-hosted with Amy when Mike was gone and did a very credible job – probably feeling as much pressure to perform as when he argued in front of the Oregon Supreme Court…..!

Mike and Amy (Faust) -- a triumphant return to the air waves
Mike and Amy (Faust) — a triumphant return to the air waves

In fact, Jack tells how when Amy was growing up, she sometimes got a little frustrated because people would always inquire, “Oh, you’re Jack’s daughter?”  Jack smiles when he relates that for the last ten years, when people first meet him, the standard question is, “Oh, you’re Amy’s Dad?”

He and Alice have traveled extensively – to 35 countries, the most exotic of which was Bangladesh (Ask him to tell you about the legal case he handled and his adventures wondering around when you have a few minutes for intrigue….)

Jack and Alice in China
Jack and Alice in China

And there are many other stories such as the time he sang a duet with actress, Ginger Rogers, when she was staying at a house on the Rogue River.  These tend to spill out when he reminisces over a Faustmaister – with the exception of “Raspberry Red.”

Thebeerchaser raises a mug to John R. Jack Faust for his contributions to make Oregon a better place to live and his outstanding legal career, – both of which mitigate his somewhat questionable propensity to wear Oregon Duck gear when we drink beer and in his travels all over the world.

Jack and waitress, Eldridge at the Buffalo Gap Saloon.

Jack and waitress, Holly Eldridge, at the Buffalo Gap Saloon

Some More Miscellany and 2012 in review

Looking Back and Moving Forward
Looking Back to Prost (November 2011 post) and Moving Forward

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So far in 2013, Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Taverns has been in low gear with only The Grand Café (which was a grand stop) and the Davis Street Tavern reviewed.  Three additional establishments will be visited next week including one brewery and posts will follow.

So during the interim and after contemplating some historic treasures below, I present the 2012 Beerchaser.com Annual Report compiled by WordPress.  For those of  you who are considering blogging, WordPress is a great option for your software.   There are some interesting statistics in the report, and although it is a bit tardy, take a quick glance below and click on the link:

Besides 6 rotating draft beers, over 400 varieties of domestic and imported beer at 1856 in NE Portland.

Besides 6 rotating draft beers, over 400 varieties of domestic and imported beer at 1856 in NE Portland.

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Wisdom in Words

Those of  you who follow this blog know that Thebeerchaser loves wisdom imparted through quotations – many by statesmen and notable philosophers on beer-related topics.  Consider the following:

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G. K. Chesterton                                                     

A brilliant essayist and philosopher who also appreciated a brewski at times.

A brilliant essayist and philosopher who also appreciated a brewski at times.

This brilliant British essayist, philosopher, newspaper columnist and novelist lived from 1874 to 1936 in London and was often known as GKC.  He defended Christians although he would not hesitate to take jabs at any institution.

“No animal ever invented anything as bad as drunkenness – or as good as drink.”

His dry wit and erudition is remarkable. An internet search of his many remarkable  quotes will entertain and impress you including two of my favorites below:

“Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.”

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

Winston Churchill

The Prime Minister showed remarkable courage, foresight and political savvy during the War years.  He was also the master of a dry wit  – which might require moisturizer lotion even on a rainy Portland afternoon. (courtesy David Dickson):      

V for Victory and Cigars and a Good Whiskey...

V for Victory and Cigars and a Good Whiskey…

“Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me.”

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The Pilgrims

And yes, even the Puritans who were stern and unyielding in their moral hygiene, understood the importance of ale when considering their course of action as evidenced from the following excerpt from the log of The Mayflower:

“For we could not now take time for further search (to land our ship), our victuals being much spent, especially our beer .”                                     

Some of the Ballast had Malt, Barley and Hops....

Some of the Ballast was Malt, Barley and Hops….

              

2012 Annual Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

A “Frank” Conversation About The Grand Cafe

The Grand Café has an interesting history, both as a bar and as a restaurant.   Thebeerchaser was joined in his recent visit by some lawyers from the Schwabe Williamson law firm’s Product Liability Group – a group of “Boeing 747 pilots,” if one considers former US Supreme Court Chief Justice, Warren Burger’s description of the judicial system: The courtrooms of America, all too often have Piper Cub advocates trying to handle the controls of Boeing 747 litigation.”                              

The Grand - at one time the Union Ave Social Club

The Grand – at one time the Union Ave Social Club

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The Grand is now a partnership and Portland luminary, athlete, bar-owner-entrepreneur (Peters’ Inn and The Habit), independent candidate for governor and former prison inmate, Frank Peters, is officially the “chef.”

Portland appellate lawyer, former “Town Hall” moderator and Oregon Duck, Jack Faust with Frank Peters

“The Grand owns me,” according to Peters, who agreed to show up that night and give our group what turned out to be an interesting tour of this historic venue – one with which he’s been associated for eighteen years.  According to Francesca, one of bartender/managers, “Frank still shows up at 5:00 A.M. each morning. He doesn’t bar-tend anymore and has mellowed in the last few years!”                                

Grand Entrance CloseupBased on some research help from former Oregonian history columnist, John Terry, and recollection by Peters, the original incarnation of The Grand was known as The Union Avenue Social Club (UASC). It dates back to 1926 when “The Club” was at the corner of Union Ave and SE Russell St. and was probably a speakeasy.

After Prohibition, it moved from Union Ave to the present site on Grand Avenue.  The UASC  was revived by Lee Hamblin, (he liked the name) owner of The Pantry – a well-known eatery on NE Broadway.  The next owner was John Asparro in 1966, and according to Frank, later by famous Portland restaurateur, Horst Mager, of Der Rheinlander, Tivoli Gardens, Couch Street Fish House, L’Omelette, Brasserie Montmarte, etc. fame.

The stairs leading to the Cha Cha Room

The stairs leading to the Cha Cha Room

The UASC ultimately flamed-out economically because a fine-dining establishment on the East Side wouldn’t attract patrons.  As one patron stated, “I found the ambiance opulent, the food mediocre and the prices unconscionable.  Never went back.”

This restaurant review from the Women’s Editor in the March 17,1975, of The Oregonian may give some insight :          

“Is it as expensive as people say?  Does it really offer 20 different coffee drinks…..? Yes, it is expensive.  And the special coffees that emanate from the tremendous imported brass espresso machine behind the bar (still there!!) seem endless…..”                             

At one time, monogrammed China and Crystal in this space.

At one time, monogrammed China and Crystal in this space.

 “Lee Hamblin…..after careful renovation and redecoration opened the UASC, perhaps the most frankly posh place in Portland to eat……Sophisticated cuisine, interior décor and service were the criteria……”

“The linens were snowy, the crystal and china monogrammed and fresh roses and candles adorned each table.  Such a meal cost $26 (remember that is a 1975 price!)  per person not including cocktails, wine and after-dinner drinks….Yet as the owner suggests, if money is a serious factor, it likely would be best to dine elsewhere.”

Frank and Francesca behind the bar

Frank and Francesca behind the bar

The bar’s interior reflects its rich history and Frank’s distinct personality – also chronicled in his self-published memoir, “The Frank Peters’ Catalog” written in the Oregon State Prison (where he was rumored to have had an office and a secretary).

After spending 30 months in prison – six of it in the Multnomah County Justice Center in Portland – he had to rebuild his life from scratch. He performed his community service at the Washington Park Zoo, shoveling elephant manure.  He also attended culinary school and earned his certificate from the American Culinary Federation.  His long association with the Grand Café followed.

Francesca with the "Grand" piano - literally......

Francesca with the “Grand” piano – literally……Live music on Saturday nights. (Notice the brass espresso machine on the right…)

Frank’s quirky personality and always creative intellect, may best be gleaned by some of the following anecdotes:

While in the State Prison, he formed The Götterdämmerung Society for the purpose of having the inmate members watch Richard Wagner’s Opera, “Ring of the Nibelung.”

He promoted the event in the prison newsletter with the following: “Seventeen hours of gods, dwarfs, giants, love, betrayal and redemption — a real Oregon State Penitentiary Soap Opera”.……The inmates met in Peters’ cell (D-533) several times before the opera was actually broadcast (on OPB) so they could bone up on a few of the plot twists” (From September 2, 1990 Oregonian column by Margie Boule)

Karaoke at the Grand - may include an occasional opera piece..

Karaoke for all ages every night at the Grand – may include an occasional opera piece..

Viewing the main picture wall is worth a visit in itself!

Viewing the main picture wall is worth a visit in itself!

While managing the Portland Mavericks minor league baseball team, to protest an umpire’s call during a game in Seattle, he stole first base–literally–and hid it in his hotel room. At another game, he rotated the team through the innings so every player played every position.

During his gubernatorial campaign, one of his ideas was to have F-4 Phantom jets from the Oregon National Guard buzz Japanese boats that were trawling in Oregon waters and driving down hauls for local fishermen. His campaign slogan was, “A Vote for Frank Peters is a Vote for America.”

In 1994, the Grand Café held a karaoke contest judged by the Honorable Steven Gallagher–the same judge who sentenced Peters to prison.

The Final Four plaque with Coach Paul Valenti's and Athletic Director, Slats Gill's pictures.

The Final Four plaque with Coach Paul Valenti’s and Athletic Director, Slats Gill’s pictures.

Frank was an outstanding athlete both at Oregon State and afterwards.  He and teammates, Terry Baker, Mel Counts, Jimmy Jarvis, et.al. on the 1962-3 OSU basketball team made it to the NCAA Final Four with a 22-9 record – “We sailed under the radar until Terry returned from the Liberty Bowl in January and then he led our team to March Madness.”

He also played AAU basketball at Claudia’s and then the East Bank Saloon where he played for international AAU championships.  He remembers getting a call in a bar in Key West, Florida from Claudia’s idiosyncratic coach, Walt Spitznagel, pressuring him to show up for the next game. (Bartender after answering phone: “Hey, anybody in this place play basketball in Portland, Oregon?”)

Frank - the short guy in the middle - with fellow East Bank Saloon AAU Teammates and former Blazers Leroy Ellis and Dale Schleuter
Frank – the short guy in the middle – with fellow East Bank Saloon AAU Teammates and former Blazers Leroy Ellis and Dale Schleuter

He even played briefly (“I was a ‘cup-of-coffee’ – for the Orioles – that’s how long I was up in the Majors…”) for the Baltimore Orioles and showed me a letter – he gets about two per month from collectors – with his Rookie baseball card enclosed asking for his autograph.  

Brooks Robinson replacement???!!!

Brooks Robinson replacement???!!!

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The basement of the Grand is devoted to one of its traditions – Salsa Dancing and Andrea’s Cha Cha Club Wednesday through Saturday nights.  Our group even had its own Salsa dance lesson.  “We sell Fun,” stated Peters, “And Salsa dancing is not defined by age,” – our group may have validated this premise!   Andrea, the originator of the Cha Cha Club and one of the partners in the Grand, personally leads the dancing lessons from 9 – 10 PM Wednesday through Saturday night.

"May I cha cha cha to the bench, Your Honor?

“May I cha-cha-cha to the Bench, Your Honor?  (Instruction by Gina)

A Tradition and Still Going Strong

A Tradition and Still Going Strong

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The walls leading to the intriguing Cha Cha Club in the basement are filled with additional mementos and photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn

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The Bar Downstairs

The Bar Downstairs

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The Grand has karaoke every night and salsa dancing – you can even get a lesson – see link to the website for the schedule.   There is pub food and a good selection of drinks and beer typical of most bars, but being able to drink those beers in a building which is more than 100 years old and in which the atmosphere evokes memories of old Portland, is definitely worth a visit – or two.

A Tradition at the Grand Cafe

A Tradition at the Grand Cafe

And ask Frank to give you a tour.  He ended this one with his “motivation speech” in which he asked rhetorically, “Do you want to be a victim or a hero?  You decide.”

I have a feeling that there was not much of a cerebral debate on this question by each lawyer to whom it was directed.

Francesca and Frank with Thebeerchaser logo

Francesca and Frank with Thebeerchaser logo

The Grand Café          832 Grand Avenue

Some More About Frank Peters…….

Frank Peters has always been and remains a character.  Those who listened to his recent interview on Dwight Jaynes’ (according to Frank and confirmed by The Godfather – the one-time President of the two-member Frank Peters’ Fan Club when Dwight worked for the Portland Beavers) “Posting Up” program on Comcast SportsNet NW,  can gain insight on his personal philosophy and how it was changed by his life experience.

When I asked about whether it made him angry that part of his prison sentence was for marijuana growing and distribution –  a line-of-work that might as of January, 2013, make him an entrepreneur in the states of Washington or Colorado, he stated, “I’m not mad – I broke the law at that time.”  He also talked about how proud he is of his granddaughter, who is an excellent high school volleyball player at one of the PIL Schools.                                                         

Frank's granddaughter (lower left) and the Cha Cha Group

Frank’s granddaughter (lower left) and the Cha Cha Group….!

                          

Peters’ book – about 50+ pages – an eclectic collection of quotes, observations and anecdotes in a loose-leaf binder with a picture of him campaigning for Governor in Eastern Oregon – warrants additional consideration.   Thebeerchaser offers these quotes as examples of why it was an interesting read.  (There are no page numbers so they are not cited.)

On Portland in the Golden ’70’s — and then the ’80’s

My studio (apartment) at the Sovereign was on the 2nd floor, overlooking the main drag on the corner of Broadway and Madison.  Two large eagles flanked my one large window giving the effect of a speaking balcony.  The Sovereign was a class hotel in the 1920’s, and now it is a historic building with tile bathrooms.  The walls are sound proof with high ceilings.

The Sovereign - also has mellowed with age...

The Sovereign – also has mellowed with age…

On one side lived a violinist with Maybury’s (Peters’ nickname for Portland) symphony, on the other, a premier rock & roll sound system operator.  The Sovereign (was) is home for people on their way up.  Restaurant Managers, students, young professionals, etc.  Eleven floors of unusually unique people – no kids, no dogs allowed.

My problems began the day the lights were turned out at Peters Inn and my other restaurants.  I went thru several bankruptcies and loss of identity – ‘Occupational Hazard, No Occupation at all.’ – Song by Jimmy Buffett….The ‘80’s found ‘No Game Today,’ ‘No More Mavericks,’ ‘Frank Peters Bar-less’ and ‘No inexperience required.’

On Cannabis…

Marijuana is called weed, grass, ganja, bud or hemp.  It’s a plant representing many things to many people.  It’s made of stems, roots, seeds, smell & leaves.  It is used for rope, sails, medicine and sweet dreams…..It grows as tall as a 2 story house, or as dwarfed as a basset hound…..As a green plant, it’s the base of the food chain.

"Raises some philosophical and policy questions
“Raises some philosophical and policy questions

On Time in the Multnomah County Justice Center

On the inside looking out, or is it the outside looking in?  Surrounded by people, yet so alone.  From the eighth floor, I observe people on the street taking care of business, and the construction progress of the new store “Saks Fifth Avenue.  This is the project that replaced my restaurant, Peters Inn.  Not a happy day.

On Prison Life in the Oregon State Penitentiary

Well, I served 30 months – to the day, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I am a better person.  I do not recommend prison; however, if it is necessary the time can be well spent elsewhere.

I was in Salem, with a new set of goals and objectives – Survival.  The title of  Willamette Week’s article was ‘Sex, Lies and Video Tape.’  It could have been worse. Salem was a good place for me to be.

I still don’t know if I have a minimum (sentence) – I don’t know what I have.  How can I complain when there are over 300 lifers, with many never getting out – very heavy.  I signed up for school.  I scored grade level 12 on my tests (English, which is a foreign language to me, held my score down) typical of an OSU graduate….

Home for twenty-four months after six in the Justice Center in Portland
The Oregon State Penitentiary – twenty-four months after six in the Justice Center in Portland

 My life, physically and socially has been on a severe downhill slide for the last six months. Can it get worse?  It seems worse, but at least I know my sentence and I feel a little better.  Then I look carefully at my neighbors; tattoos, weight lifter arms and repeat offender attitudes.  I proceed with caution, great caution and keep my mouth shut as the mood loosens with light conversation.

Then I hear from an immense Black inmate.  ‘Hey Peters, remember me, you kicked me out of your club.  You sure are white.’Well,” I say, ‘I’ve been kicked out of my own club so don’t feel bad.’

“Frank, I would like to ask you to do something for us, but I don’t know how to ask,” explained Grizz, ‘Just ask,’ said Buzz. Grizz gives Bud a dirty look and says, ‘O.K., O.K. – Frank, will you play softball for us?  We are in third place, and our goal is to make the playoffs.  We are the Marauders, sponsored by the Lifers….’  I look at Bud, Bill and Grizz, then I look at the other four hundred plus inmates and made my decision on the spot.  I played for the Marauders.  We won the second half and made the playoffs, I proceeded to go to prison on a softball scholarship. It was fun and the only way to go.

According to Maslow; we seek freedom from fear, food and shelter, love and belonging, ego and self-actualization.  This doesn’t leave a prison person many choices.  Food and shelter are the only absolutes.  Where should my plan focus?  After a few games (mental footwork) with inmates and guards, I decided to self-actualize.  In my mind, self-actualization is borderline fantasy, and everyone in prison lives fantasy.

An attempt to reach the top of the pyramid

An attempt to reach the top of the pyramid

If your mind is on the outside, you believe friends and lovers remain faithful and big paying jobs will be available.  Maybe your mother in truth is faithful – ‘even Hitler had a mother.’  If your mind is on the inside, you do sports, walk the yard, pump pig iron, chase the bag or take big deals.

Self-actualization is self-development, NOT people or system development.  I decided to make prison an adventure.  A plan of self-actualization and a plan to live fantasy.  A practical reality plan to live in Fantasyland.  Oregon State Penitentiary.

PRESS RELEASE – FRANK PETERS  #53381- cont. 08/14/90

…Behind the scenes, Peters dispenses a new brand of counseling to younger inmates.  He challenges rather than gives gratuitous advice, challenges them to find their own path to a better life after prison. Challenges them to seek their own answers, and put their experience to proper use on the ‘outside.’ Whether this approach will save one from a repeat prison term or not, no one will likely ever know.  But it is unique and innovative method that seems at least to spark some favorable response…..

Philosophically Peters declares he’s learned one thing, ‘The person wasn’t bad, their thinking was bad.’ Peters declines to reveal just how he plans this (1,000 hours of community service) but indicates that ‘the real value is to make an overall contribution to the quality of life, something worthy of his energies.  If the journey doesn’t change you, why bother to leave home?’

On the Campaign for Governor

‘Never be neutral in a conflict, whoever wins must destroy the uncommitted’ (Machiavelli, year 1539).  This leaves little room for an independent in power politics.  The game plan was to run a ‘state-wide’ campaign with credibility and open the door for other non-party candidates.  We hoped to split Democratic & Republican votes at all levels and make deals….It destroys the ‘good old boy politics’ and political party ladder.  It opens the door for real democracy.

Machiavelli - some day my Prince will come
Machiavelli – some day my Prince will come

Any concerned person can participate.  Events did not work in our favor.  Four years we campaigned…..in small towns throughout Oregon…..‘A vote for Frank Peters is a vote for America.’ They never knew how close we came to killing their political Dinosaur….The possibilities were awesome….We were serious – Machiavelli serious.