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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraSummer's imminent arrival means your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, the system may need to be recharged.

Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, until researchers found it caused ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in vehicles built after 1994. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on an air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of periphery components at the same time.

Why? The easy answer is working on an air conditioning system is about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

To avoid draining your refrigerant, removing your compressor, installing a new unit and refilling the system with new cool stuff — only to have you come back in a week and say it's still not cold enough — it makes sense to replace the necessary components.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen of Snap Fitness - FITNESS INSIDER -

SNAP FITNESS - Mike NielsenAs the inspirational saying goes, “Live less out of habit and more out of intent.”

While it’s true that starting a fitness routine can be difficult, I offer the following tips to get you in the gym door and on the road to good health.

Assessment — New SNAP Fitness clients receive a free jump-start session, including consultation with a trainer. The assessment determines the client’s baseline, helps us guide their first steps, and is an opportunity to discuss adding personal training.

Cardio — The national recommendation for exercise for all ages and fitness levels is to get to the gym at least three days per week, and to do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio per visit. Working out with a friend will make it more fun, help you feel more accountable, help you stay at the gym for more months and achieve a higher level of success.

Strength training is key to replacing fat with muscle, becoming leaner, stronger and improving balance. Do two to three sessions of strength training per week.

Nutritional guidelines — Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five to six small meals. This will fuel your energy throughout the day and avoid post-meal sluggishness. Also drink 96 ounces of water daily.

Online help — SNAP has a complete online nutritional program and training center. Free with membership, it provides a personalized workout plan, sample menus and a complete library of instruction videos.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

Mike Nielsen, Snap FitnessStrength training is an essential part of an exercise program, even for someone who hasn’t been active in a while.

Lifting weights, using weight machines and doing core work increases muscle mass and bone density.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate (called sarcopenia) and bone density decreases.

Research shows that seniors are more susceptible to bone breakage that younger adults. As people age, their metabolism slows down. We are seeing more and more seniors joining gyms.

If we take the average adult between the ages of 40 and 50 and do basic strength-training three to four times per week for 90 days, the outcome can be life-changing.

Here’s a myth-buster: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat! A pound is a pound. 

Muscle is, however, more dense than body fat and takes up less area than fat. If you were to start an exercise program complete with strength training, you would increase your lean body mass and decrease body fat.

The body takes up less space and metabolism speeds up, resulting in a higher BMR (base metabolic rate, the amount of daily caloric intake needed to maintain LBM and weight.) This reverses sarcopenia and increases bone density.   

Not everyone walks into a gym and knows exactly what to do. Snap gives new members an opportunity to meet with a Certified Personal Trainer, who assesses their body and their goals. 

Let’s get started.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTO MAINTENANCE INSIDER

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageRegular maintenance on your car is, quite simply, a good investment.

For example, when you bring your car in for a timing belt — typically needed at 90,000 to 100,000 miles— it costs in the range of $400 to $500. But if it breaks, it might be $1,800 to $2,000.

At our shop, when we do it, we do it right. With the timing belt, we also replace the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys, camshaft seals, water pump and coolant.

Mileage interval maintenance, which is only done by shops, should be done at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles.

The ideal scenario is to get the car into the shop about three times per year for inspections, which will find things like rodent damage, which is more common than you might think. It’s mainly squirrels in this area.

An inspection will also uncover leaking coolant or oil, as well as plugged-up air filters. Once a year, you should get a brake inspection.

We do complete automotive repair, including pre-purchase inspections for $150. That’s a comprehensive inspection, which can detect unforeseen problems and save you from buying a compromised vehicle.

Our average cost for an oil change is $38; $58 for a brake inspection.

It’s a small investment. We do it properly and can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the road.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

SNAP FITNESS - Mike Nielsen“We are a friendly, success-oriented fitness center,” says Mike Nielsen, vice president and co-owner of Snap Fitness locations in Oregon City, Milwaukie and Canby. “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of the gym world, where everybody knows your name.”

Nielsen has been a certified fitness coach for 13 years and has been with Snap for eight years. He says being a fitness coach is all about helping individuals achieve the best version of themselves.

“It’s not just something that’s done at the gym, but it’s a lifestyle change,” he said of Snap. “We focus on not only the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of everyday life, to make sure we are able to achieve long-term success.”

He says Snap gyms have a family feel and a personal touch.

The gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with monitored access for safety. Snap has more than 1,500 locations nationwide.

The fitness centers offer cardio, personal training, weight-loss programs, a health center, strength training and Olympic lifting. An online web page for members offers nutrition counseling and an online training center.

“Our members are our greatest assets,” Nielsen added. “We do all we can to make sure they have not only the best facility and equipment, but a wonderful experience.”

Snap Fitness


Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.


Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170


Canby: 1109 SW 1st Ave.


Brought to you by John Sciarra - Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraAfter nearly 100 years of providing excellent full-service automotive repair and maintenance, Bernard’s Garage is a classic Milwaukie institution trusted by generations of customers.

Founded in 1925, old timers and area residents still remember Joe Bernard Sr., who would design and build custom car parts when his customers’ vehicles needed it. Joe Bernard Jr., a former Milwaukie mayor, helped modernize Bernard’s and continued his father’s tradition of excellent customer service.

The current owner, Jim Bernard, another Milwaukie mayor and current Clackamas County commissioner, has computerized Bernard’s—turning his father’s mechanics into today’s technicians.

Besides providing free pickup and delivery, Bernard’s offers DEQ repair and adjustments, check-engine light diagnosis, manufacturer-scheduled maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension repair, timing belt tune-ups, radiator and water pump work, as well as engine, transmission and air conditioning service.

“We are straight shooters and will let you know what the problem is and what the cost is upfront,” Operations Manager John Sciarra says.

Sciarra, an 18 year veteran of Bernard’s, has attained numerous specialty vehicle class certifications. With 26 years in the industry overall, Sciarra is our INSIDER for automotive excellence.

Bernard’s Garage is a 17-year-long supporter of the Milwaukie Farmers Market, a Milwaukie First Friday participant and frequently donates to the Annie Ross House, Milwaukie Senior Center and other local schools and events.

A member of the Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce since 1955, Bernard’s has been named Business of the Year twice since 2000, and has received the BRAG award from the county for practicing responsible recycling and waste management.

Bernard's Garage 

2036 SE Washington St, Milwaukie, OR.

(503) 659-7722


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Arch Bridge rehab final cost: $14.9M


by: FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - After being closed for 22 months, the Arch Bridge between West Linn and Oregon City reopened to traffic in October.ODOT says its project to reconstruct the Arch Bridge between Oregon City and West Linn is 99.99 percent complete and will finish ahead of the final contract date of March 31.

The reopening of the bridge to traffic this fall was on-time after the 21-month closure.

On Dec. 20, the replica lights were re-installed. They had been returned to the manufacturer to increase their weather resistance. After the re-installation, the lights were left on for a seven-day “burn-in” (24/7) test. ODOT has received positive comments from local residents who were happy to see the lights back on.

The only item remaining to be completed is the installation of some small signs which will occur in late January. There will be no further impact to bicycle, motor or pedestrian traffic.

Wildish Standard Paving is proud of its safety record on this project. There was no time lost to injuries during 61,000 hours of labor.

This project employed a work force of carpenters, steel workers, concrete finishers, equipment operators, truck drivers, painters, welders, electricians, tug boat operators, steel fabricators, concrete precast fabricators, sign fabricators, concrete suppliers, asphalt suppliers, materials testing technicians, project inspectors, engineers, structural engineers, traffic engineers, shuttle bus drivers along with other laborers and a variety of other project related staff.

Final estimated project construction cost is $14.9 million.

The total construction work lasted 35 months, from its start in July 2010 until final close-out in the spring of 2013. For nine months, Wildish employees worked double shifts, in order to finish the project on time. There were up to 40 people working at one time including the subcontractors. The nature of the work and tight spaces precluded more workers on the bridge at any one time.

The total project used 61,000 hours of labor. The painting of the bridge both inside and outside took 7,200 hours of labor.

The historic replica lights on the bridge were patterned after one of the original fixtures was found on Atkinson Memorial Church in Oregon City. It is thought they were removed from the bridge in the mid-20th century.

Gunite removal

On the steel arches, 18,000 square feet of old Gunite was removed and replaced.

The contractor purchased special hydroblasting equipment for Gunite removal and used a variety of techniques to remove it. Around 6,000 hours was spent removing Gunite. About 400,000 pound per square inch of water pressure was required to blast off the old Gunite from the bridge. More than a million gallons of waste water was collected, cleaned and treated on the project from various aspects of hydroblasting including deck removal and bridge cleaning.

More than seven barges, three tug boats and diving services were used to prevent debris from falling into the river. Johnson Western Gunite Co. worked about 7,200 hours to apply the new shotcrete.

Concrete and steel repair

More than 1,000 square feet of concrete were repaired.

Approximately 350 cubic yards of concrete were replaced on the bridge rail, bridge deck, sidewalks and columns.

Railing: More than 1,600 linear feet of new precast concrete, steel reinforced railing were installed. Over 1,000 bolts were replaced.

540 corroded rivets were replaced with 3/4-inch diameter high-strength bolts

Approximately 30,000 pounds of structural steel were removed and replaced. Structural steel is a steel beam, column, plate used to support the bridge loads.

Approximately 54,000 pounds of new reinforcing steel were used. Reinforcing steel or rebar are rods of steel embedded in concrete to give the concrete flexibility.

Below the bridge deck eight steel bridge stringers were replaced, due to corrosion. Stringers are the support beams that run the length of the bridge. In addition, 32 stringers, with less corrosion, only needed repair.

Bridge Roadway: A micro silica concrete deck overlay was installed. This is structural concrete that is less permeable to water and therefore reduces the potential for future corrosion of the steel under the bridge deck.

Installed steel seismic cables under the West Linn and Oregon approaches to the bridge, tying the bridge deck’s super structure to top of the columns.

The bridge supports a natural gas line, communications lines and the sanitary sewer line that go between Oregon City and West Linn. These services had to be maintained during the rehabilitation project. Some of the lines were moved to enhance the historic features and to make these lines less visible.