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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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No easy resolution in sight for right-of-way fee dispute with OC


As county lawsuit continues, WL probing for possible legislative action

In the eyes of Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley, it’s a long-overdue acknowledgment of service and boundaries. For West Linn and other members of Clackamas County’s Tri-City Service District, it’s nothing less than an unlawful tax.

Such is the divide between both sides as the debate continues over new franchise fees instituted by Oregon City for right of way usage. As a lawsuit filed by the Tri-City Service District presses forward, and as a state representative considers legislative action, a compromise does not appear to be imminent.

“I hope we can work it out,” Neeley said. “But it might end up in litigation.”

By way of an ordinance passed in November, Oregon City will now charge the Tri-City Service District and other individual cities based on either the total linear feet of utility facilities located on Oregon City right of way or six percent of the gross revenue generated by those facilities — whichever is greater. The Tri-City Service District includes West Linn, Oregon City and Gladstone.

The fees went into effect 30 days after being adopted by the Oregon City Commission.

As a result of the new ordinance, West Linn is on the hook for a share of the $191,000 Tri-City Service District fee as well as 40 percent of the $85,000 fee owed by the South Fork Water Board, which is partly owned by the city.

The Tri-City Service District’s water pollution control plant is located in Oregon City, and cleans more than seven million gallons of wastewater daily. In an April 2 resolution, Oregon City pledged to use the new revenues exclusively for “maintenance and improvements to the city’s wastewater collection system ... that directly or indirectly benefit the Tri-City Sewer Service District.”

The new fees would also require West Linn to pay $5,000 annually for the use of a water transmission line located on Oregon City right of way. The pipeline was first installed in 1972, according to City Manager Chris Jordan.

In total, the fees add up to an estimated $110,000 charged to West Linn. According to West Linn City Manager Chris Jordan, the city is required to make the $5,000 payment in quarterly installments, and has submitted two payments so far in 2014.

“We are being charged a tax, and we didn’t have a say in if we agree with the tax,” West Linn City Councilor Thomas Frank said. “I don’t have a problem with having two parties come together and decide something like that. But they voted unilaterally to do this, where we weren’t part of the discussion.”

In June, the Tri-City Service District filed a lawsuit in the Oregon circuit court, alleging that new franchise fees are unlawful forms of taxation from which the district is exempt by Oregon law. As part of its 2014-15 budget effective July 1, the Tri-City Service District also voted to assess a higher wastewater treatment service rate to Oregon City taxpayers to make up for the new franchise fees.

“The Board of County Commissioners made the decision that Oregon City residents will pay the whole fee,” Neeley said. “That’s not acceptable to us. We accept equity ... services are provided to the three cities, and we feel there’s got to be an equitable distribution of those fees to those entities.”

“Oregon City is concerned with Tri-City’s methodology used to determine the rate,” Oregon City’s Right of Way and Contracts Coordinator Lance Powlison said. “With the pending litigation, I cannot be specific on what, if any, action will be taken by the city regarding the rate.”

For Neeley, the franchise fees are better described as long overdue rent payments, rather than taxes.

“Let’s say I’ve got a friend, and I’ve rented to him for several years without him paying rent,” Neeley said. “I say, ‘Well, we can’t do that anymore. You’re going to have to pay rent.’ I can do that. It’s the same situation.”

Frank understands that logic — to a degree. “The other option is the lineal foot model — we would have paid $15,000 under that model,” Frank said. “I would have been fine with that ... within the right of way, they have maintenance to do, so that’s fine.”

The much higher $110,000 figure for West Linn comes from Oregon City’s decision to charge based on gross revenue generated by the right of way facilities.

“In a bigger perspective, this really does set a precedent for the state,” Frank said. “There are towns and cities all over the state that use a neighbor’s right of way. To have a city come in and unilaterally make this change sets a bad precedent for the state.”

In response, Neeley pointed to a 2012 case in the Jackson County Circuit Court, during which the court ruled in favor of the City of Phoenix and found that it was within the city’s rights to charge a franchise fee to Rogue Valley Sewer Services in exchange for right of way usage. The court cited Oregon’s “home rule” charter, which grants cities an authority independent of state law.

In a May 22 letter to representatives from Clackamas County, West Linn and Gladstone, Neeley wrote, “I cannot understand how the county’s view of Oregon City’s home-rule authority could have diminished so quickly and so drastically.”

West Linn has engaged the League of Oregon Cities on the issue, but Frank said “so far they have taken a neutral stand on it.”

State Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn), on the other hand, expressed concern about the issue and said there may be legislative action further down the line.

“I am working with the city of West Linn on this issue and have committed to a legislative solution if we need one,” Parrish said. “Ultimately, I think we need to preserve relationships for our neighboring cities, but arbitrary fees raised from one municipality to the other without consideration of what that does elsewhere in the system is a problem.”

Parrish said she plans to meet with Oregon City officials later this month, and that she is “interested in hearing their concerns.”

“We’re all in this together,” Parrish said, “and ultimately, (we) need to give the best accountability we can to taxpayers on both sides of the river.”

By Patrick Malee
503-636-1281 ex
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