Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Planners to hear public input on Willamette Falls mill site


by: PHOTO COURTESY: OREGON CITY - After Blue Heron closed operations, laying off 175 employees, the Willamette Falls property was put up for sale under the management  of a bankruptcy trustee.Oregon City has received bids from 14 consultants who’d like to lead visioning and master planning for the 23-acre Willamette Falls site of the bankrupt Blue Heron Paper Co. in collaboration with Metro, Clackamas County and the state.

The resulting vision could reconnect the public with North America’s second largest waterfall, significant wildlife habitat, and an important cultural site for native tribes along the Willamette River. After Blue Heron closed operations, laying off 175 employees, the property was put up for sale under the management of a bankruptcy trustee.

With a deadline last week, the flood of bids came only about a month after Oregon City issued a request for proposals on March 7 from MIG, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, OTAK, Siteworks, Duany Plater-Zyberk, Walker Macy, Sheils Obletz Johnson, SERA Architects, Angelo Planning Group, BergerABAM, Bldg Studio LLC, HKS Urban Design Studio, Van Meter Williams Pollack and PARC Northwest Legacy Team.

Oregon City seals the bids for its review of proposals to avoid disclosing contents to competing proposers during the process. In accordance with state public records laws, submissions and scoring will be open for public inspection after the notice of intent to award a contract is issued on May 8, said Oregon City planner Christina Robertson-Gardiner.

An 18-member selection committee has two members each representing Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro, the state of Oregon and the trustee. Various stakeholder groups, including PGE, the Port of Portland, the Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition, a member of OC’s Citizen Involvement Commission, Main Street property owner, an OC planning commissioner, a preservation advocate and a river/habitat advocate, will each have one member. Committee members will score written submissions and attend interviews on May 2 and 3 that will be closed to the public.

Based on the interviews and written submittals, the committee will make recommendations to forward the top two or three teams to the Oregon City Community Development Director Tony Konkol and Bankruptcy Trustee Peter McKintrick, who will make the final selection per the requirements of the collaborative planning agreement.

Preservation vs. interpretation

The concept of “preservation” became a key issue for Willamette Falls when the City Commission considered the cooperative planning agreement. Interested citizens attending a commission meeting noticed the absence of the word “preservation” in the partnership values language and requested it be restored. City commissioners agreed by a 5-0 vote on March 6.

At its next meeting on March 20, the City Commission reversed its vote, replacing the word “preservation” in favor of “interpretation.” Protesters argued “preservation” would indicate that some parts of the mill site would be saved from destruction, while “interpretation” could mean leveling the site and posting signs pointing to what was there during the 170 years of industrial operation.

City Manager David Frasher said the concern was that there were different views on the word “preservation,” and the agreement was originally worded vaguely on purpose to leave the door open for all possibilities at Willamette Falls. Mayor Doug Neeley said any changes to the agreement would have unraveled partnerships and prevented the current public master-planning process. They argued that if the city did not enter into the agreement as planned, the trustee could have walked away, and the city might have had little voice in the process.

Upcoming event

City officials hope the public’s vision for Willamette Falls will facilitate rezoning for economic redevelopment, and reserve part of the site as an outdoor destination. Public partners hope planning for the property will create an opportunity to purchase the portion necessary to let visitors experience the falls, offer cultural interpretation and historic preservation, and restore habitat along the Willamette River.

Oregon City will kick off National Preservation Month’s theme “See! Save! Celebrate!” with the presentation of the annual Ruth Powers Preservation Award at the May 1 City Commission meeting, 625 Center St., 7 p.m., and by announcing the 2013 Preservation Month Photo Contest through June 15, sponsored by the Oregon City Historic Review Board and the Clackamas County Historical Society.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation created Preservation Week in 1971 to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America. Due to its popularity, in 2005, the trust extended the celebration to the entire month of May to enable more Americans to become involved in the growing preservation movement.