Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

What gems lurk beneath the Blue Heron site?


The Willamette Falls Legacy Project (WFLP) will host a visit by University of Minnesota architecture professor Tom Meyer Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Oregon City Commission Chambers, 625 Center St. For his talk on Nov. 5 in Portland, visit rediscoverthefalls.com to sign up.

by: STEREOGRAPH BY CARLETON WATKINS - Oregon City just below the falls, showing flour mills and a sternwheel steamboat on the lower river in 1867 during the time of the Pioneer Paper Company. The Oregon City Flour Mill building is the one towards the left, four stories with the pitched roof, right above the boat moored along shore.Meyer designed Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis, seen by the WLFP as a model for the Blue Heron redevelopment. If the foundation of the old Oregon City Woolen Mills, with its sizable cut basalt stones, can be converted into anything like Mill Ruins Park, it will be thrilling.

I hope the WLFP will consider another, still hidden, archaeological gem for such treatment as well. Right around the corner from the Woolen Mills, and lurking under the Blue Heron site’s concrete platform, lies the foundation of the Oregon City Flour Mill. What’s more, the course of the millrace (now dry) that turned this mill’s wheel runs beneath the platform too.

Flour milling defined Oregon’s City’s early history. John McLoughlin set up a gristmill, and then a flourmill. The renowned Imperial Mills were located at the foot of Main Street from just after the Civil War until Willard P. Hawley bought the building in 1908 for his paper machines. William Singer in the 1890s had a flourmill at the top of Singer Creek Falls.

On the river side of Main Street, on the north side of 3rd Street, stood the Oregon City Flour Mill. Nineteenth-century newspaper articles write glowingly of this enterprise.

A Portland newspaper, The West Slope, said in 1876, “Lying on the bank of the river...is the splendid Flouring Mill of Miller, Marshall & Co., a beautiful brick structure with stone foundation, built on the bedrock, and perhaps the finest and largest flour mill on the coast.”

Indeed, in photos taken from West Linn of Oregon City in both 1867 and 1892 (in the newly re-issued “Old Oregon City” published by the Clackamas County Historical Society) clearly show the four-story mill building with its foundation descending over bedrock down to the millrace which empties into the Willamette River.

Also in 1876, The Oregon City Enterprise ran an article extensively describing the inner workings of this mill, including it’s advanced fire-suppression system: “The arrangement against fire is perfect. Leading to the top of the building is a three feet diameter iron pipe which at the lower end is attached to the pipes of the water works. By means of a wire which when pulled floods the entire building with water. So simple and perfect is it that no fire can get under way.”

Both the Imperial Mills and the Oregon City Flour Mill became part of the Portland Flouring Mills Co. owned by D.W. Burnside (of Portland bridge and street fame). When Hawley bought them in 1908, the Oregon City Flour Mill became Mill D, underwent a substantial conversion, and housed Paper Machine #2 for most of the 20th century. That evolution can be seen on a succession of old Sanborn maps. The building is now a roofless ruin.

And, there is yet one more item of significance. The Oregon City Flour Mill very likely had as its origins the first paper mill in the Pacific Northwest: the Pioneer Paper Company of W.W. Buck, founded in 1866. In his 1951 article, “History of Papermaking in The Pacific Northwest,” W. Claude Adams describes the inauspicious beginning of this enterprise:

“A story is told of the grand opening of the mill. The gala occasion was celebrated by a banquet and dance in the mill, with a brass band and all the flourishes. The purpose was to get the people there and to sell stock; a demonstration of the paper machine was to follow. The dance lasted all night, and by morning the machine mechanism began to falter and at last stopped entirely. The promoters offered $2,500 to anyone who could make the machine run, but no one volunteered, so the whole event proved a fiasco.”

Pioneer Paper lasted only about two years. Adams describes further how the successor firm to Hawley, Publisher’s Paper, placed a bronze plaque in 1951 marking the site of Pioneer Paper, similar in fashion to Hawley’s placing a plaque in 1919 in front of his company’s headquarters, almost right next door, at the northwest corner of 3rd and Main, to mark the location of the Oregon Spectator, the first newspaper west of the Rocky Mountains.

Discussions within the WLFP includes ideas such as “peeling back” the concrete platform from the riverside to expose the bedrock floodplain below. This could bring the Oregon City Flour Mill foundation back to the light of day. Perhaps too the millrace. What an opportunity.

And just where did the millrace flow come from? From the basalt cliff hydrology? From flumes leading out along and under Main Street from the basin? From the north end of the Woolen Mill? This network of water flows certainly counts as yet another gem lurking underneath the Blue Heron platform. If it can be restored — imagine a day-lighted channel meandering from the basin through the Woolen Mill and Flour Mill foundations, into the millrace, and back into the Willamette River — it would be spectacular.

Oregon City resident James Nicita is a former city commissioner.