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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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'The most magnificent festivity ever witnessed'


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

As the momentum of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project builds with the announcement of the Planning Commission hearings on the framework master plan set to begin on Sept. 8, it seems appropriate to invoke some the excitement generated in an earlier era: the day the Woolen Mills opened.

Photo Credit: PHOTO COURTESY: OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Late 1864 or early 1865 photo of the new Oregon City Woolen Mills, and the Imperial Mills, just before construction of the steamboat basin. Planked water flume in foreground leads from Willamette Falls to Imperial Mills. Elevated ramp in rear of Imperial Mills leading down to Woolen Mills is likely the Canemah horse railroad. McLoughlin House is opposite Woolen Mills tower.In 1865, Oregon City did not have a newspaper. The Argus had departed for Salem in 1864, then closed. The Enterprise did not commence publishing until 1866. The Oregonian, however, printed the following fascinating account of the opening of the Woolen Mills on June 3, 1865.

Another cause for celebration: a spectacular photograph, which well complements the Oregonian’s story, has emerged from the files of the Oregon Historical Society. Perhaps the only one of its kind, it shows the Woolen Mills and the Imperial Mills, and the ground in front of the Imperial Mills before the People’s Transportation Company (P.T. Co.), in the latter half of 1865, constructed its steamboat basin right up to that flourmill’s front door. The picture likely dates from late 1864 or the first half of 1865.


On Wednesday evening we were among the number who embarked upon the P.T. Co.’s splendid steamer Senator for an excursion to Oregon City, and an attendance to the party, which was to inaugurate the opening of the new Woolen Factory building lately erected by our enterprising neighbors. The Mechanics’ Band were along, and enlivened the trip by some of their best music, which, with the good feeling of those on board, rendered it a very pleasant ride of two hours’ duration. A number were met at Oregon City from Salem, together with an outpouring of the youth and beauty of the former place, whose inhabitants are much given to mirth and joy, as was attested before the close of the evening. The ball was very likely the most magnificent festivity ever witnessed in their city, and we may well add that it has been seldom equaled in this country. The immense hall, constituting the second story of that superb building, decorated with flags, evergreens, etc., with a fine orchestra, was a suitable place for dancing and promenading, and was that night thrown open to furnish accommodations for an entertainment worthy of the occasion. Dancing commenced at 10 p.m. and after the first quadrille was entered upon with a worthy spirit, until dawn. Portland was well represented among the throng. The attendance was full, the ladies wearing their best dresses and sweetest smiles. The supper was well gotten up, and happiness prevailed while it was being served. After the festival hour had passed, in company with Mr. Pratt, who has been the chief mover in the erection of the structure, and the purchaser of its machinery in the East, we took a survey of the building from the base to its apex. The main plan is 100-by-50 feet in size, with a basement of 23 feet and two stories of 12 feet each, besides an attic of some 6 feet. The whole structure is of brick and stone, the wall having a base of 10 feet in diameter, tapering to 2 feet at the top, or lower range of the first story. In the basement two floors are provided, which makes the building nearly equivalent to four stories and an attic in height. The first floor of the basement will be used exclusively in washing goods and wool threshing. The second floor will be devoted to finishing... shearing, etc. The third floor, or first story proper, will be the weaving department, which has ample room for 80 looms... The fourth floor, or second story, has not an obstruction in the shape of a post or column, to interfere with operations, and the entire space of 190-by-50 feet, is calculated for the carding and spinning department. The attic, or fifth floor, will also be used for spinning and wool picking. A tower for the stairs... from which a hose attached to a force-pump below can be used to extinguish fire on any part of the works. The tower also furnishes an excellent view of the scenery up or down the river. The building, as it now stands, cost the company $32,000, an ornament to the city where it has been erected, and should be the pride of its projectors. The power will be furnished to the factory by a 5-foot waterwheel, issuing 460 inches of water under a head of 22 feet, which is calculated to give sufficient power for 12 sets of machinery. By the first day of August it is expected the factory will be in operation. The machinery partly arrived by the bark Almatla, and the remainder is upon the bark Sam Merritt, now on the way to this port from San Francisco. It was purchased under the supervision of Mr. Pratt, from manufactories in the East and is made from patterns of the most approved styles of Woolen Factory machines now in use. Provision has been made for the erection of a west wing, which will give nearly as much room as is afforded by the present building, and will make it the most complete establishment of the kind in any country. The Oregon City Woolen Manufacturing Company is composed of substantial energetic men, some of whom are practiced farmers, whose interests are identified with the interests and prosperity of the state, and it is confidently hoped that their success in this enterprise may be in accordance with their highest expectations. The good results likely to follow from their enterprise will shortly be manifest, and it may be an incentive to others to embark in the work of developing our own home industry. Oregon City has fine advantages for carrying on extensive works of this kind as can be found in the world, and they cannot very long remain unimproved. We visited various portions of the city while there, such as was possible during our short stay... About the only thing they are lacking in at present to render a stranger comfortable is that of hotels, but with such a hospitable people, one can generally find a home, upon making himself known, for a short visit among them. Several fine buildings, some of stone and brick, others of wood, are in course of construction.

A third cause for celebration is that the WFLP has designated the foundation of the Woolen Mills as one of the five “first-tier” historic structures, out of the approximately 55 buildings on the Blue Heron site, targeted for preservation and adaptive reuse as part of the framework master plan.

It would be an even greater cause for celebration if the master plan were to specifically call out all of the 15 buildings and sites determined by the State Historic Preservation Officer to be eligible for listing the National Register of Historic Places (with the possible exception of the water filtration plant, the inclusion of which seems a bit of a stretch) as worthy of preservation and adaptive reuse. Given the magnificent history and culture, of the Blue Heron site, the prospect of such an expansion of the legacy may well be worth an evening engaging in public comment during the upcoming hearings.

However you feel, make your voice heard!

Oregon City resident James Nicita is a

former city commissioner