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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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History takes a ride on elevator


by: KEVIN HARDEN - Oregon City's Municipal Elevator is a 751-ton concrete and steel icon on Seventh Street. It could be a national historic site if a city project can get it named to the National Register of Historic Places.More than five decades after it started carrying passengers on a 130-foot ride to the bluff above downtown, Oregon City’s Municipal Elevator could be in line for a national honor.

The elevator, built in 1955 to replace an aging and less-futuristic structure, is among three Oregon City buildings and a public site that city officials hope will be nominated this fall to the National Register of Historic Places.

by: KEVIN HARDEN - The Carnegie Library on John Adams Street has been a central part of Oregon City life for a century. The library was built with a $12,500 donation from businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who is honored with a plaque on the side of the building. The building is one of three structures and the McLoughlin Promenade that could be nominated this fall to the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the municipal elevator, the city also wants to nominate the Carnegie Library building (built in 1913), the McLoughlin Promenade (built in 1937; including the Grand Staircase and Singer Falls) and the privately owned Masonic Building on Main Street (built in 1907).

All of the buildings and the promenade have significant links to Oregon City’s early growth as a booming mill town on the Willamette River.

“They’re just the heart of what Oregon City is,” said Christina Robertson-Gardiner, a city planner working with the city Historic Review Board on the nomination process. “We’re excited to do this.”

City officials are negotiating with Olympia, Wash., architectural historian Chrisanne Beckner to write the extensive nomination forms. Six firms submitted proposals in January for the large project. The city has set aside $10,000 for the project that had been on hold for several years because of funding concerns. A state grant provided another $10,000 for the work, Robertson-Gardiner said, bringing the total to $20,000.

Once a contract is completed, Beckner expects to have a busy spring digging through local and regional historical documents to complete the extensive nomination reports. The reports, which sometimes are more than 50 pages, require well-documented histories on each building and site, and an explanation of their significance to the city.

City officials hope to have the project completed in time for the mid-October meeting of the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation, which approves statewide nominations to be forwarded to the national register.

Beckner has researched Oregon City’s history before, working in 2011 with Diana Painter of Painter Preservation and Planning on a survey of nearly 1,700 local properties to determine which could be eligible for listing as local and national landmarks.

That project included research on the Municipal Elevator and other downtown structures. The work and the city left an impression on Beckner.

“I admire Oregon City,” she said. “It has so much history.”

All of the buildings and the promenade are listed as Oregon City landmarks, but until now the city hasn’t tried to put them on the national history list maintained by the National Park Service. That process takes months and requires a lot of research, something the city has not been able to fund until now, Robertson-Gardiner said.

“They’re all eligible for the register,” she said. “The national register listing doesn’t do much more for them than a local listing can do.”

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places provides limited protection for older buildings, Beckner said. The listing is more of an honor for buildings and sites that have

local, state and national significance, she said.

“It’s a very labor-intensive process,” Beckner said. “It’s not something that just anyone who loves old buildings would do.”

A local icon

The elevator at the end of Seventh Street was constructed in 1954 and finished in 1955 to replace an aging 1915 wooden structure that had become unreliable. The 751-ton concrete and steel tower is the only “vertical street” in North America, connecting Seventh Street between downtown and the bluff near High Street.

The original elevator replaced a stairway of more than 700 steps that followed old trails along the bluff.

The current elevator was built using a $175,000 bond approved by voters in 1952. The original Otis elevator in the tower whisks passengers to the top in about 15 seconds. Its futuristic observation deck opens onto the McLoughlin Promenade, a concrete walkway that extends 2,300 feet along the bluff from Singer Hill to the historic McLoughlin House.

The promenade was constructed in 1937 as a federal Works Progress Administration project. It includes stone and concrete rails along the 10-foot-wide paved path. A local Kiwanis Club raised money to restore the promenade in 1972 after the walkway fell into disrepair.

Main Street Oregon City plans to project light onto the elevator tower as part of its Illuminate Oregon City art program. The project was funded through a National Endowment of the Arts grant and will shine lights on the tower sometime this year. Artists have been invited to submit plans to illuminate the elevator.

“This project is as innovative as the elevator itself,” said Cheryl Snow, director of the Clackamas County Arts Alliance.

Lloyd Purdy, director of Main Street Oregon City, said the project was a good complement to the elevator’s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

“The Municipal Elevator is a purely Oregon City icon and deserves to be a focal point of public attention,” Purdy said. “What better time to celebrate the elevator’s history and cultural significance?”

Masonic Temple

Oregon City’s Carnegie Library was built in 1913 as part of Andrew Carnegie’s donation to construct libraries in most cities. Between 1881 and 1917, Carnegie donated more than $56 million to build more than 2,500 libraries around the world. Carnegie libraries were constructed in Eugene (1906), Baker (1909) and The Dalles (1910).

Carnegie offered $12,500 to the city to construct the new library if the city agreed to spend $1,250 each year in maintenance on the building. The city offered a site on John Adams Street, where the library stands today.

The Masonic Building on Main Street was built in 1907 as home for the Multnomah Lodge No. 1, which was established in 1846 and is the oldest Masonic lodge in the West. The four-story, 29,700-square-foot building was home to the lodge until it was sold in April 2012.

Members of the Masonic Temple Multnomah No. 1 used the third floor as their lodge and rented office and retail space on the other three floors.

Raymond Rendleman contributed to this story.