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Cascade Locks Ale House opens taps

New owners savor stories and spirits

Shelley James, new co-owner of Cascade Locks Ale House, is happy to give a warm welcome to locals and visitors who come in from the cold; just don’t ask about the ghost who reportedly haunts the upstairs rooms, guaranteeing shivers of a different kind for winter diners.

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
Shelley James, new co-owner of Cascade Locks Ale House, is happy to give a warm welcome to locals and visitors who come in from the cold; just don’t ask about the ghost who reportedly haunts the upstairs rooms, guaranteeing shivers of a different kind for winter diners.

A quartet of hopeful beer enthusiasts is setting down new roots in Cascade Locks at what was formerly known as the Pacific Crest Pub and Hostel.

The old name is out and the new, Cascade Locks Ale House, is in with Shelley James, Suzanne Jackson, Mike James and Wayne Slagle joining forces as new owners.

“We bought the building and the land,” said Shelley James, the weekday manager of the pub and restaurant.

Workers used the building, according to James, during Bonneville Dam’s construction period. It has also served as a brothel and boarding house. She believes it was built in 1904.

The Ale House may also be host to a few unusual, long-term guests.

“I won’t go upstairs by myself,” said James, who is respectful of the building’s reputation of being haunted.

“There was a boarder who lived up there when it used to be Suzie’s Suds Locker and it got so that he refused to go up there. He would see and hear things. He wasn’t the only one,” said James. The upstairs currently remains empty with no immediate plans to investigate the origin of the ghost stories.

James would rather focus on the present and plans for the future.

“Our current specialty is pizza. We make our dough fresh along with the sauce,” she said.

James notes that plans are in the works to start a small brewery at the site within the next year or so, but a good selection of tapped and bottle beer is already available. The Ale House also sells a zippy, bottled horseradish sauce — a patented recipe — which is a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

“We ship cases of this all over the country,” James said.

James took on the business proposition with her best friend and former co-worker, Jackson, after having worked together for their last three jobs. They talked their “behind-the-scene” partners into the idea.

“We both worked for U.S. Bank and two jobs together before that,” said James. “Suzanne is still at the bank and works here on the weekends. I’m here pretty much full time.” The Jameses live in Troutdale and Jackson is from Gresham; Slagle is a Cascade Locks resident and is Jackson’s father.

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To drop in and sample the pizza, the beers or the homemade salmon chowder — or perhaps to take your chances with a ghostly encounter — the Ale House is open every day except Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with Fridays and Saturdays open until 11 p.m.

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For more information call 541-374-9310 or visit at 500 WaNaPa St.

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