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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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Realtors, not folklore, named 'Happy Valley'

Historical commentary by Mark Hurlburt

The origin of the name for the city of Happy Valley has been traditionally associated with a folkloric legend of community boys getting happily drunk from apple cider.

According to “The History of Happy Valley,” compiled by the elementary school students in 1969, these boys attended church services at Sunnyside “singing loudly and gaily.” They were referred to as “the happy boys from the hollow” and after a while the area became known as “Happy Valley.” While this story from folklore may be true, new research contradicts this story as the reason why Happy Valley ultimately received its name as its actual origin might more plausibly belong to Realtors.

The city of Happy Valley has had many names in its history. First it was referred to as the “Deardorff Valley” and the “Deardorff Settlement,” named after the first settler family in the area; and as “Happy Hollow” from the folkloric story.

Then, in a meeting held at the valley’s school in 1902, a new name was chosen for the community. An article in The Sunday Oregonian published in November of that year, announced, “The pioneer settlement in Clackamas County, southeast of Mount Scott, which has been called ‘Deardorff Valley’ and ‘Happy Hollow,’ will be known hereafter as ‘Christilla Valley.’” The name was a combination of Chris and Tilla Deardorff as a tribute to the first settlers in the valley. The community of farmers had seemingly decided on an official name for their area home, but the name “Christilla Valley” would not last for long.

After thorough research in The Oregonian Historical Archive and the Historic Oregon Newspapers archives, the earliest recorded use of the name “Happy Valley” in referring to the geographic area between Mount Scott, Scouters’ Mountain and Sunnyside, which the city comprises of today, are found in classified ads selling acreage dated in September and October 1909. This was only seven years after the school meeting that decided the area would be known “hereafter as Christilla Valley.” Even before 1909, the use of the name Christilla Valley was often paired with the more well-known name Deardorff Settlement. The usage of Happy Hollow continued as well and valley residents even used the names Mount Scott, Portland and Lents in referring to where they lived.

But despite all these different names for the same geographic area, only one was used by Realtors in advertisements for selling acreage. After searching through the classified advertisements in the newspaper archives mentioned earlier, the names Deardorff Settlement, Deardorff Valley, Happy Hollow and Christilla Valley were not found to be used by Realtors. Only the name “Happy Valley” was used in selling land for that area. A simple reason why could be because there was no official name for the area and the farmers living there were just notably happy people. Another explanation could be that the name was chosen to incite optimism following dispiriting events that plagued the community at the start of the 20th century.

In 1902, wildfires destroyed farmland in many parts of Clackamas County including in the valley where resident C. Zinser lost his house, one barn and all his grain and fences. It also took the efforts of 20 men to protect the schoolhouse from being destroyed.

In 1904, a severe fire approaching from Gresham posed serious danger to Deardorff Valley farmhouses and caused much uneasiness among the residents. An Oregonian article covering the fires quoted a farmer living in the valley who stated that “with a fair wind there will be little chance of saving the farmhouses” as the area is “covered with a mass of brush and dry snags and logs, which would feed a fire and carry it forward at a great rate.” Following this event in 1904, another fire broke out in November of that year, this time by the recklessness of a man, which consumed his neighbor’s fence.

To make things even more difficult for valley farmers, a pack of coyotes had invaded the area and were killing poultry and sheep. In the autumn of 1904, a hunt had to be formed of men with guns and hounds to kill the coyotes. But, according to an Oregonian article covering the hunt, the coyotes “were left unhurt” and were sent “skirmishing to the hills.”

With these dispiriting events occurring in the valley, Realtors might have needed a clever strategy to attract future land buyers. And, coincidentally, the name “Happy Valley” made its earliest recorded appearance in two real estate ads in 1909.

Could it be true that the name “Happy Valley” evolved from “Happy Hollow” as the legend says? Both names were used up until at least the 1940s and “Happy Valley” did not become the official name of the area until the community incorporated as a city in 1965.

But an Oregonian article from Sept. 25, 1932, shows them together as two separate names. The article was a listing of various hiking locations in the Portland metro area. The listing for Happy Valley read, “Happy valley - Go to Lents junction. Take road going past Mount Scott cemetery and on to Happy valley.” And immediately below the listing for Happy Valley was a listing for Happy Hollow, “Happy hollow - Go to Lents junction. Tramp southeasterly over Deardorf valley road to Happy hollow...” If Happy Valley evolved from Happy Hollow, the use of the two names here is rather odd as they are both used to describe the same geographic area. An explanation for this is that these two names originated separately, one from Sunnyside with the cider drinking legend and the other from realtors as a way of inciting optimism.

Happy Valley began as a farming community and would remain that way until after World War II. Why then would a farmer want to purchase land in a place where farms were being destroyed by wildfires and poultry and sheep being stolen by coyotes? Unless they could be convinced by those already living in the Mount Scott area, a farmer would more likely buy land in such a place if it had an optimistic name - like the one that first appeared in real estate ads and, interestingly, was the only title used in identifying that area despite all its other more commonly known names.

Today, most people probably move to Happy Valley because of its name, and it is in that optimism the name of the city likely originated from.

This article was written by Mark Hurlburt who has lived in Happy Valley his entire life, earned a B.S. in history from Portland State University in 2010 and works as the volunteer coordinator for the Clackamas County Historical Society. If have information to contribute to this topic, please send him a message to volunteers@clackamashistory.org.