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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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OC keeps high hopes for former mill site


Oregon City’s Legacy Project coordinators envision a return to prominence for the once prosperous, but now downtrodden 23-acre industrial site accompanied by the PGE dam along the Willamette Falls.

by: PHOTO BY: COREY BUCHANAN - If the redevelopment plan comes to fruition, Willamette Falls will be complemented by a much different, and more bike-friendly, landscape. Currently, the site is off the beaten path and a symbol of yesteryear, but during much of the 19th and 20th centuries, it was a cornerstone of the city.

“This was the original downtown of Oregon City,” OC Community Development Director Tony Konkol said.

by: PHOTO BY: COREY BUCHANAN - While the industrial site was once a bastion for economic productivity along an extension of Main Street, it's now a lonely wasteland.In the 1800s, the site was instrumental for Oregon City industries, serving as its chief energy source.

“We had an abundant resource of electricity. If you can’t store it, you might as well use it,” Konkol said.

The site also produced the first long-distance electrical transmission in the nation.

“The industrialization of the West started here,” Konkol said.

Until Pendleton took over the industry, the Oregon City Woolen Mill was the largest producer of wool in the nation. Along with the woolen mill, the site was packed with a lumber mill, sawmill, flour mill and brick operation.

After multiple companies bought and sold the site, Blue Heron Paper Co. wound up with it in 2000.

However, the site’s implosion and Blue Heron’s bankruptcy came to a head in 2011, forcing 175 workers into unemployment and ceasing industrial productivity at the site for the first time since 1829.

In 2014, the 50-some buildings are bare, appear to be eroding, and are plastered with red marked signs signaling “danger” or “trespassing.”

The project’s Framework Master Plan outlines points of emphasis including public access, economic redevelopment, habitat health, and historic and cultural interpretation.

As far as public access is concerned, the project coordinators envision a river walk from Highway 99E to the PGE dam, replacing rundown trolley tracks with a modern bike and pedestrian path.

“We want to build a world-class public access way,” Konkol said.

In order to sponsor economic interest, the area would change from an industrial zone to a mixed-use zone allowing for commercial, residential and employment use.

For example, Konkol imagines an open area that used to be a grotto as a future public garden, restaurant or retail store.

They hope the renovations will vault the site’s value.

“We want to build a catalytic project that can change property value,” Konkol said.

City Manager David Frasher thinks the renovations will attract waves of tourists.

It will bring thousands of new visitors every year to see the falls,” he said.

The city also hopes to transform Willamette Falls into a respite for traveling fish.

“We want to provide a rest area for migratory fish before they take their next jump up the river,” Konkol said.

They also want to re-establish the shoreline, which has been altered by industrial structures, and supply a corridor for migrating birds by providing greater access to the Willamette Falls outcroppings. Plus, it is hoped water quality will improve through the use of tail races to increase water circulation.

Finally, the plan doesn’t want to demolish any trace of the historic site, but rather, use the grounds as a learning center for the site’s remarkable history.

“One of the challenges is how we can incorporate these historic buildings into redevelopment,” Konkol said.

In April, the property was sold to Tacoma developer George Heidgerken for $2.2 million. The sale was met with criticism because of Heidgerken’s run-in with the law in 1993, when he faced charges for illegal storage and transportation of hazardous material.

by: PHOTO BY: COREY BUCHANAN - Legacy Project coordinators hope to attract customer-service-oriented companies as well as manufacturers to the site that was once the center of Oregon City. “I can just assess the owner with the interactions we have had with him, and those have all been positive,” Frasher said.

The project’s partners are in the midst of negotiations with Heidgerken. Konkol says they’ve achieved major progress. Still, the plan is far from a done deal.

“We still need the owner and jurisdiction on board,” Konkol said. However, “we’re on the same page with the owner.”

Oregon City, Portland, Clackamas County and the state of Oregon are partners in the current project. So far, the state has contributed $5 million.

“That money is used to leverage other dollars,” Konkol said.

Frasher said the project’s cost is still up in the air.

“Until the plan is more refined, we don’t have any estimates,” he said.

However, both Frasher and Konkol think the city and the owner will come to an agreement by the end of the summer or the beginning of fall.

Konkol is excited for what lies ahead.

“Hopefully, it will be a place people want to go again, and again and again.”