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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - Auto Repair INSIDER -

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageWhat’s less fun than getting stuck in a nasty traffic jam? Getting cooked in your car on a hot day.

Summer's right around the corner and 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, the system may need to be recharged. Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as Freon. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on a vehicle’s 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 peripheral components at the same time.

Bernard’s, which has been in business since 1925, services our clients’ foreign, domestic, hybrid and electric cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles. We offer free pickup and delivery for our customers’ convenience.

Plan ahead and stay cool this season!

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



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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OC's birth to an empire: The Portland Flouring Mills


Blue Heron Beginnings: Commentary on the Willamette Falls Legacy Project -

William S. Ladd was a Gilded Age Titan.

By the time of his death in 1893, Ladd had constructed an Octopus-like Portland-based financial, real-estate and industrial empire that made him one of the dominant figures of the Pacific Northwest’s economic development during the latter 19th century. His investment holdings included, among others, Portland’s Ladd & Tilton Bank, Salem’s Ladd & Bush Bank, the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, the Oregon Furniture Manufacturing Company, the Portland Cordage Company, the Portland Hotel, the Oregon Telegraph Company, the Oregon Iron Company and the Oregon Central Railroad Company. He subdivided Ladd’s Addition in Southeast Portland.

by: WEST SHORE MAGAZINE - The West Shore sketch from 1887 of the Imperial Mills would have been drawn during the era of the Portland Flouring Mills.Ladd knew Oregon City. In the 1870s, he held a significant ownership stake in and served as the treasurer of the Oregon City Woolen Mills; including at the time of the 1872 fire that completely destroyed the Woolen Mills and necessitated its complete reconstruction.

From the south end of the long Woolen Mills building on Main Street, Ladd could look out directly upon the “far-famed” Imperial Mills, built in 1862 by John McLoughlin’s son-in-law Daniel Harvey, and which under Harvey’s successor proprietors George LaRocque and D.W. Burnside exported flour as far as England by 1874.

From the north end, Ladd could look out directly upon the Oregon City Flouring Mills (OCFM), built in 1866 as W.W. Buck’s Pioneer Paper Company, the first paper mill in the Pacific Northwest. Known in Oregon City as the “Brick Mill” because of its red brick exterior, it had been converted into a flourmill in 1868 by steamboat captains J.D. Miller and George Marshall, and their partner Charles P. Church. By April of 1876, Miller, Marshall & Co. was also exporting flour to England, running the mill “day and night” to fill an order eventually amounting to 22,000 barrels to a Liverpool firm. A number of Oregon newspapers printed a dispatch Ladd sent Nov. 4, 1876, from the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, reporting on all the awards won by Oregonians, including OCFM. “The half has not been told,” he gushed. “Visiting the Exposition causes one to praise God that he lives in the age and country.” OCFM won a medal and diploma for the best pastry flour.

These two Oregon City flourmills, with their prestige and their established export business, may have made an impression on W.S. Ladd in the mid-1870s. Within a decade, he would own both of them.

The Imperial Mills and OCFM became part of the original core of four flour-milling companies that Ladd brought together within a holding company called the Portland Flouring Mills (PFM) Co. With his trusted confidant Theodore B. Wilcox, Ladd built PFM into a global flour empire.

Oregon City can make a strong case for being the birthplace of that empire.

Oregon City’s key link in the PFM’s founding story was the steamboater and grain exporter Charles P. Church. He and Miller co-owned the steamboat Onward in the mid-1870s. Church served as the manager of the Brick Mill through 1875, and then with Miller formed Miller, Church & Co. upon Marshall’s retirement in 1876. After Miller bought him out in the late 1870s, Church teamed up with William S. Sibson in 1879 to form the international grain export firm Sibson & Church.

Church found new opportunity with the Brick Mill in Miller’s collapse, only four years after his twin triumphs in Liverpool and Philadelphia; and, only three months after a glowing October 1879 profile of OCFM in Portland-based West Shore magazine, which reported, “The entire mill has just undergone a thorough overhauling, and is now fitted with the latest and best labor-saving machinery that it was possible to obtain in the eastern markets.” Perhaps this extensive overhauling over-extended Miller. Salem’s Willamette Farmer reported Jan. 9, 1880:

“A Bankrupt. We regret to learn that Capt. J. D. Miller, of Oregon City, has failed, and his property has been seized by his creditors to pay their demands as far as possible... Mr. Miller is lying ill at his residence in Oregon City.”

For a nominal $5,000 and a retaining right to redeem — never exercised — Miller deeded the Brick Mill in September of that year to his son-in-law, James S. Cochran, also a steamboat captain. Cochran’s mill venture included his father John W. Cochran, who had been the first-ever steamboat captain to run the upper Willamette, reaching Eugene with the James Clinton in 1857. In 1880, the elder Cochran trademarked the name “Oregon City Mills Baker’s Best XXX” and in 1881 the name “Willamette Falls Mills XXX Bakers Best Flour From Walla Walla Wheat.” The Cochrans continued to export: for example, in May 1881 they shipped 7,700 barrels of flour to Liverpool through their exporting agent: none other than Sibson & Church.

Sibson & Church soon made their move to purchase the Brick Mill outright. In April of 1882, Sibson & Church formed the Oregon City Flouring Mills Co. with W.S. Ladd and several of his business associates — including his son William Meade Ladd, his Salem banking partner Asahel Bush, and Portland attorney and merchant Donald Macleay — and the group purchased the Brick Mill for $45,000 from J.S. Cochran.

by: OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Oregon City's Brick Mill, shown during the 1870s, is located in the future area of the Blue Heron paper mill.Meanwhile, Ladd had become interested in the Salem Flouring Mills, founded in 1870 by members of the McKinney family. It had a well-established English export trade; in fact one of its partners by 1881 was a Liverpool commission merchant, William Scott. Upon the death of Albert McKinney that year, his will directed that his interests in the mill be offered first to Scott, who accepted. Scott brought in Ladd and several of his associates, including Sibson, Bush, and others, and reorganized the mill into the Salem Mills Co. At the time, it was the largest flourmill in the state.

The Imperial Mills became the third mill to enter Ladd’s orbit. OCFM purchased the Imperial Mills in the fall of 1883 from D.W. Burnside for $85,000. Just prior to this purchase, the company increased OCFM’s capital stock from $60,000 to $150,000 to cover the Imperial Mills purchase, and empowered OCFM to buy, develop and hold waterpower and water rights, with which the Imperial Mills was well endowed.

In this period of the early 1880s, the business judgment and strategy of Ladd in his associates appears to have come into focus for this emerging flour milling enterprise. According to an “official” history of the Ladd & Tilton Bank, “It soon became apparent that while the output of the mills was in excess of local requirements, the surplus was not sufficient for satisfactory export business, and hence a somewhat greater capacity was needed in order to secure the prompt loading and dispatch of export cargoes.” Railroad baron Henry Villard’s Sept. 11, 1883, completion of the Portland’s transcontinental railroad would provide both improved access to export markets and an influx of population to spur local demand for flour.

Ladd’s group followed a two-fold strategy to achieve the desired economies of scale. First, the same core group that had in April of 1882 incorporated OCFM had in November incorporated the PFM. The objective of this incorporation was to construct the behemoth flourmill in the then-independent town of Albina, on the east bank of the Willamette River across from Portland. Construction of the Albina Mill began in early 1883, and by the end of that year it was milling flour using new technology: the roller mills that would soon render millstones obsolete.

Second, PFM began expanding beyond the core group of the fourmills Ladd and his associates owned to become agents, led by Sibson & Church, of several other mills. In September 1883, West Shore magazine, under the headline “An Important Enterprise,” described PFM as a sort of umbrella holding company of all four of the core mills, led by the key aforementioned players: The Ladds, Sibson & Church, Bush, Macleay, Scott and others. The article emphasized the firm’s integration of production; grain exporting capability through Sibson & Church; and English market presence through Scott. It listed the capacity in barrels per day of each of the mills owned by core group: Oregon City Flouring Mill (300), Imperial Mills (500), Salem Flouring Mills (550) and the Albina Mill (1,000). In addition, the article mentioned an array of 11 other mills in Oregon and Washington represented by Sibson & Church, with an additional total capacity of over 2,000 barrels of flour per day. PFM appeared poised to dominate the Pacific Northwest’s flour business.

Then, the bottom almost fell out.

A deep recession hit in 1884. The many factors included, among others, the untimely collapse of Villard’s railroad holding company just after it completed the transcontinental railroad, and a wheat price depression caused by worldwide overproduction. The recession hit Ladd’s PFM group, and in particular, both Sibson & Church, and OCFM went down. The Willamette Farmer reported Sept. 26, 1884:

“The loss sustained by millers and exporters were very heavy last year. Demanding proof of this fact, we are informed that the Oregon City mills, that were reorganized last year under a new incorporation, as was supposed with brilliant prospects, lost the full amount of its capital stock. They are mortgaged for $100,000, and we are told the directors have resolved to surrender the property rather than work through, which probably has been done.”

Ladd’s deep reservoir of capital allowed PFM to endure the shock. He stepped forward and consolidated the loose umbrella group more firmly under himself. In December 1884 he re-filed PFM with himself and his son W.M. Ladd in the driver’s seat. In March of 1885, OCFM transferred all its property, including the Imperial Mills, the Brick Mill, their multiple respective warehouses, water rights, etc., to PFM for a grand total of $1. Finally, in this period, Ladd’s trusted lieutenant Theodore B. Wilcox rose to assume the primary managerial role of PFM.

Wilcox had started off as a teller for the Ladd & Tilton Bank, and rose meteorically through the ranks. Ladd placed him in charge of PFM mills, and he responded so well to the challenge that he gave up his bank role completely. With the consolidation and new management in place and the recovery of the economy after 1885, PFM went off like a supernova.

Daniel J. Meissner tells that fascinating story in his 2003 article in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, “Theodore B. Wilcox: Captain of Industry and Magnate of the China Trade, 1884-1918.” At a dizzying pace, Wilcox started building and buying up flourmills throughout Oregon and Washington, gained a near monopoly on grain elevators and warehouses in the Pacific Northwest, and used all the ruthless tactics of laissez-faire capitalism, like focused temporary price wars, to drive out smaller regional flourmills.

Then, in contrast to the English flour trade cultivated over the years by Sibson & Church, Wilcox turned his export focus to Asian markets. He cornered the Chinese market by creating a syndicate of Hong Kong brokers, muscling out American competitors from California and Washington. His flour became “famous from Vladivostock to the Malabar Coast, and far into the interior of China.” He came to dominate the flour markets on both sides of the Pacific. Meissner credits Wilcox’s empire as key contributor to Portland’s prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A record exists of the flourmills in Oregon City contributing to the Asian exports of PFM. An 1899 article in the Oregon City Courier-Herald reported that they “can grind more than a million bushels of wheat a year, and their flour is in the markets of Eastern Asia.” By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, Chinese flour brokers began to import American milling equipment to set up their own enterprises, and PFM’s empire went into decline. After Wilcox’s death in 1918, the firm became incorporated into General Mills Corp. in the late 1920s.

By this time to, the original core of Ladd’s flourmills were no longer central to the global enterprise. The Brick Mill closed for seven years in the 1890s. PFM shuttered it completely in 1902, and shipped its machinery to other mills.

The Imperial Mills, however, remained a mainstay, and just a William Ladd had eyed it and the Brick Mill in the 1870s, by 1908 another young entrepreneur was eyeing these two mills from across the Willamette River in West Linn. Willard C. Hawley would soon take advantage of them to launch Hawley Pulp & Paper Company, an enterprise that would grow almost as explosively in the paper industry, as PFM did in the flour industry.

Oregon City resident James Nicita is a former city commissioner.