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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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Urban renewal's value


In 2007 a five-member combination City Commission and Oregon City Urban Renewal Commission approved $130-million Debt Limit Authorization and revision to the urban-renewal plan. This permits the Urban Renewal Commission to authorize projects and spending up to this $130 million level.

A review of what has actually happened in the last 10-years reveals that we have not created through our spending/investments, virtually any new permanent jobs and improvements to the local economy and tax-increment gain in assessable properties values to repay those funds spent.

If the voters were to pass the right to vote on Oregon City urban-renewal indebtedness by voting yes on Measure 3-407, this will limit many expenditures and require a vote when bonding is required. The Urban Renewal Commission would otherwise have to live in and on what is allowed under Measure 5, 50, 57 and 58, which provides for a 3 percent annual increase in assessments, to the most part.

By going to the County Assessor’s Office documents at clackamas.us/at/documents/2011/urban_oregoncity.pdf, anyone can see and validate how your property tax is diverted from the listed taxing districts from within the urban-renewal area and is diverted into the Oregon City urban-renewal operating fund. These financial figures are some of those found in a spreadsheet I can give to anyone who contacts me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The true worth of urban renewal is when it is used correctly, in its ability to improve conditions within blighted areas, with subsequent improvements in jobs and the economy. The process should be fully competitive, transparent to the public, with publicly shared measurable standards, that serve public needs and their best interests.

Urban-renewal investments should create new taxable assessed values in real-estate property, within the urban-renewal area. When it does not, it extends its time where NO benefits are passed back to the taxing districts where the funding comes from through the diversion of their property tax revenue.

When a specific project in itself does not create new assessed value there should be a identifiable halo effect within the plan area that increases overall assessed values. This is a very important consideration in the funding of public projects and improvements.

The key to all of this is the difference between the frozen value (developed and set in 1977) and the assessed value and from it, is what determines “excess value,” which is then stripped away/diverted through the division of taxes from within the downtown Oregon City urban-renewal area.

Line No. 21 reflects the gross dollars derived from property taxes, prior to collection and adjustment dedicated to flow to the Oregon City urban-renewal district. A detailed examination of the records reveal that virtually none or little benefit has been derived from the urban-renewal monies that have been spent in attempting to increase Excess Value over and above the 3 percent that is in most cases is added on each year, by the assessor.

See five years of Oregon City urban-renewal expenditure reports at urrighttovote.com/videos.

Therefore what is reflected in this spreadsheet will probably continue to happen until our Oregon City urban-renewal district is brought to a termination, with all liabilities settled. However if new people are elected to the City Commission who understand this, they can institute many responsible changes.

We must ask ourselves these questions in an examination of what is reflected in these reports and spreadsheets. Just a review of the larger dollar amounts brings to question if a responsible level of stewardship has been used in representing each of the taxing districts that provide their money to Oregon City’s urban-renewal district through the division of taxes.

Clackamas County, could their funds provide for better police protection or help solve shortfalls revenue that hampers so many departments and result in limiting the level of service that they can deliver? Clackamas County libraries, how important is the stewardship of their facilities and services needs, to this generation and the next generation?

The city of Oregon City is having trouble funding its programs and staffing at adequate levels. The city did not have enough money for its new City Hall so they got its money from urban renewal which is from all of the other taxing districts.

Money is taken from education which is from the County ESD, Clackamas Community College and Oregon City School District/State Department of Education that determines the level of programs/classes, teachers and class size provided in education.

Clackamas County Fire District No. 1, is forced to share their cost across its whole service area to compensate for this loss of revenue, the money has to come from some place. We equally share in the cost of service provide in other service areas where tax revenue is diverted from Clackamas Fire like Clackamas Town Center and Clackamas Industrial Urban Renewal Plan Areas.

Paul Edgar is an Oregon City urban-renewal commissioner.