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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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Five good reasons to vote no on 3-407


In a letter on Oct. 17, one 3-407 proponent stated: “I’ve yet to hear a plausible explanation as to why urban-renewal bonds should not require voter approval the same as all other bonds issued by Oregon City.”

Well, several good explanations have already been published, but since you may have missed them, here are five good reasons why urban-renewal bonds should not require voter approval.

One: Urban-renewal bonds are not like other bonds—Other bonds are repaid from the city’s general fund; urban-renewal bonds are not. Other bonds are backed by taxpayer dollars; urban renewal bonds are not. Other bonds can directly increase your property-tax rates; urban-renewal bonds cannot.

Because urban-renewal bonds do not raise property-tax rates and are repaid from tax revenues generated from within the urban-renewal district, citizen approval is not necessary, and elections could even slow job creation.

Two: Voting on urban-renewal projects could lead to higher taxes—Cities have several tools available to raise money for city services and civic improvements. Urban-renewal bonds are just one of these tools. Others are general obligation bonds, loans, fees and property taxes. If urban-renewal funding is stifled through politicized elections, this economic development tool will be removed from the city’s toolbox. If this happens, city leaders may have no choice but to increase fees and raise property tax rates—both of which can be done right now without voter approval!

Oregon City has the authority today to raise our property-tax rate to $5.0571 per $1,000 of tax-assessed value. The current rate is $4.1590 per $1,000. So, if needed, city leaders could raise our property-tax rates to fund revitalization efforts and city services—all without voter approval. The point is, it doesn’t make good sense to remove a good funding tool like urban renewal.

Three: Voter accountability already exists—Proponents claim that city leaders are mismanaging and misspending millions of urban-renewal taxpayer dollars. So, in order to stop alleged cronyism and self-dealing, they believe citizens must provide voter accountability.

But, their repeated attempts to discredit public officials and city staff, and to sow seeds of distrust in the minds of citizens, are hypocritical. Why? Because the same five elected officials that manage the urban-renewal budget also manage the city’s $84.1 million budget. It makes no sense for 3-407 proponents to be so alarmist about the management of urban-renewal funds, while saying nothing about the management of the city’s funds.

Also, the Urban Renewal Agency already has numerous fiscal checks and balances in place, including an 18-member budget committee that reviews and approves the annual budget; public hearings and meetings open to all citizens to review proposals, plans and budgets and give input; and an annual third-party audit of the books.

The truth is, Oregon City is in great financial shape and our city leaders, while not perfect, have an excellent track record of financial stewardship. In fact, Oregon City is in the black, has the lowest debt ratio in all of Metro, and recently received an award for excellence in financial reporting.

Four: Measure 3-407 will stifle future investments in Oregon City—Proponents believe that, since some businesses (e.g., Home Depot and Safeway), didn’t use urban-renewal funding, no business should need to use it. But, this kind of simplistic thinking assumes all transactions are created equal; but they are not.

For example, sometimes a home will sell for the asking price, but in other cases, improvements and price concessions have to be made to attract a buyer. The same principle applies to blighted properties in an urban-renewal district. Not all developers are attracted to building on a landfill, and some simply can’t afford the added costs. So, sometimes, improvements and financial incentives must be provided by the city.

The process of researching, negotiating financial agreements and approving plans is challenging and expensive. Before ground is ever broken, new businesses often invest millions of dollars on land-use studies, consultants, attorneys and permits. After all of this time and expense, no business will be willing to risk this investment on an uncertain election result. Potential big investors will simply steer clear of Oregon City.

If passed, Measure 3-407 will prevent city leaders from providing the incentives sometimes needed to bring new businesses and jobs to the city. We’re on the verge of an economic renaissance; let’s not allow Measure 3-407 to get in the way of responsible progress.

Five: Measure 3-407 will hurt future funding for city services—Urban renewal is an investment tool. It uses the tax-revenue “increment” above the frozen tax base to pay for improvements in the urban-renewal district and to attract new business developments. Over time, these new improvements and developments will raise the values of these blighted properties, and yield much higher revenues for city services once the district is closed. This is the same investment principle used when investing in a 401(k) or IRA—we forego the short-term needs to provide for long-term needs.

If passed, Measure 3-407 will discourage new businesses from developing our city’s blighted areas and will keep property values low in these areas. This will not help provide stable funding for police, fire, school +and library services in the future. Simply put, this measure is short-sighted and will hurt Oregon City services in the long-run and will prevent citizens from enjoying the quality of life they are entitled to.

In summary, each of these five arguments is strong on its own, but together they make a very clear case. This attempt to change our city charter is designed to remove the valuable tool of urban renewal from our city’s financial tool box. Oregon City needs every tool and strategy available to secure jobs for the future.

Please join with me and vote no on Measure 3-407.

Rose Holden lives and owns a business in unincorporated Oregon City.