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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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PGE will be key to Willamette Falls public access


The Willamette Falls Legacy Project (WFLP) promotes four “key values.” The project’s consultants say that one value in particular, public access to the Willamette Falls, scores “off the charts” in popularity.

Small wonder, as there has never been true public access to the falls since our town’s founding. To understand why, consider a key component of John McLoughlin’s 1850 plat of Oregon City: the Mill Reserve.

McLoughlin demonstrated great civic vision in his plat, namely in setting aside several blocks as public parks. Those parks have become Carnegie Park, D.C. Latourette Park, Barclay Park, the municipal pool, and, fittingly, the lot upon which the McLoughlin House itself now stands. Most spectacularly, he reserved the McLoughlin Promenade as part of the plat.

For the falls, though, McLoughlin proceeded from another “key value,” economic development.

McLoughlin set aside a massive tract in the plat and designated it “Mill Reserve.” His handwritten notes on the plat specify that the tract “is reserved as private property.” By the time of the plat’s filing, several mills already occupied the Mill Reserve. Historian Jim Tompkins, in his fine book “Images of America: Oregon City,” writes: “When Dr. McLoughlin built his home in 1846, the view from his porch was of 40 structures. Toward the falls, he could see five mills — his lumber and flour mills and the three lumber and flour mills of the Methodist Oregon Milling Company.”

After McLoughlin’s death in 1857, the Oregon Legislature in 1862 resolved years of claim disputes between McLoughlin and the Methodists by restoring the Oregon City Claim to McLoughlin’s heirs, namely his daughter Eloisa and her husband Daniel Harvey — the latter also the executor of McLoughlin’s estate. They inherited title to the Mill Reserve.

The value of the Mill Reserve lay not only in land, but also in water power. The Harveys over the years began selling off parcels of the Mill Reserve — and, importantly the associated water rights — to individuals and companies that were creating, or would create, the early enterprises that shaped the Blue Heron Mill site.

For example, in 1863 and 1864 the Harveys granted deeds with water rights to George LaRocque, who became the proprietor of the Imperial Flouring Mills. (One historian actually lists Harvey himself as one of LaRocque’s original partners.) The Imperial Mills building, its warehouse, and its grain elevator were among the buildings purchased by Willard Hawley in 1908 for his paper company that grew and evolved into what is now Blue Heron. Also in 1864, the Harveys granted deeds with water rights to the Oregon City Woolen Manufacturing Company for what would become the Oregon City Woolen Mills.

So thoroughly was the Mill Reserve “privatized” that not even Main Street extended into it. In 1917 the Oregon Supreme Court decided the case Portland Railway, Light & Power Co. v. Oregon City. The company, the predecessor to the modern Portland General Electric Company (PGE), was leasing to Hawley a triangular piece of land within what would be the right-of-way of Main Street if it were to extend into the Mill Reserve to the Basin, constructed in 1865-66. Hawley was storing big piles of pulp on this parcel, located at the Basin wall.

Oregon City coveted this parcel, and claimed it was part of Main Street. Why? Water rights. By this era, it had constructed a water works plant on Main Street, just outside of the Mill Reserve. The attorney for Oregon City was blunt: “[W]hy should the city donate to the appellant corporation the portion of the only street in Oregon City that abuts the river where water rights might be available for municipal purposes and across which the flume for the city water works is now located?”

Oregon City argued the triangle was part of Main Street. Oregon City lost. The company was able to demonstrate its chain of title back to the original deed granted in 1865 from the Harveys to the People’s Transportation Company, the steamboat company that built the Basin.

In ironic contrast to this attempt to assert an extension of Main Street into the Mill Reserve, Oregon City over later years vacated streets as the paper mill grew outwards well beyond the Mill Reserve. The successive paper companies built structures on and over these former city streets. Now, if one stands on the McLoughlin Promenade looking down into the mill site, it is hard to see where 3rd and 4th Streets were located. In fact, on a tax map, most of the Blue Heron Mill property appears now as one big tax parcel.

A thin tax parcel that looks like a reverse check-mark juts into the mill property, along the west and north walls of the Basin. This is PGE’s tax parcel, which also extends out to the PGE Dam, the former site of Station A, the platform upon which the Powerhouse used to stand, and ultimately, the east side of the Falls themselves.

The WFLP consultants envision restoring public access by re-creating the Main Street grid with 3rd and 4th Streets. They also envision access to Willamette Falls along PGE’s property out to the Powerhouse platform. PGE appears to be on board, and in fact has produced an informative video on the history of the falls that has been shown at WFLP events. That is a good thing, because as far as the “key value” of public access, PGE’s role will be key.

Oregon City resident James Nicita is a former city commissioner