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



Trail connection still on the table, but questions linger about who could be responsible for trolley bridge's failure

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF KOIN TV - After showing signs of failure, crews dragged the old trolley bridge truss out of the Clackamas River and broke it up into pieces on land.Everything seems like it’s back to normal, minus the bridge.

After it first appeared to be nearing collapse March 6, the old trolley bridge truss was dragged out of the Clackamas River and broken up on land. Then the Oregon State Marine Board lifted a temporary Clackamas River closure March 12 after Union Pacific crews took down and dismantled the steel trusses obstructing boat traffic.

Although other options to link the two trails remain on the table, people working to join the Milwaukie-to-Gladstone Trolley Trail to Oregon City’s waterfront path were disappointed at the demolition of the railroad company’s trolley bridge. Showing up at the Gladstone City Council meeting last week, they wanted to know why no one took action earlier to reinforce the rickety bridge and why it started to fall now, when rising waters weren’t as high as in recent flood years.

County Commissioner Paul Savas was among those who lamented the loss of the bridge when Oregon City officials had indentified the bridge abutment as compromised for more than a decade. A common theory is that Lake Oswego’s installation of a dam for constructing a Clackamas River pump station pushed the water current to the opposite side of the river just downstream, expediting the bridge’s collapse.

“There’s probably some connection between the cofferdam and the demise of the bridge much sooner than anyone expected,” Savas said.

Engineers have been evaluating the situation, but the public may never know for sure, and there were various factors at work.

“It’s not just a coincidence that they put in this dam, realigned the river, and all of a sudden the bridge drops,” said Gladstone resident Les Poole. “You don’t have to be an engineer to realize that.”

Lake Oswego spokewoman Katie Fulton said, “I know that there have been suggestions about that, but we’re not making any statements about the possible correlation between the cofferdam and the bridge.”

It’s unlikely that Lake Oswego would face a lawsuit anyway.

“I don’t know if the railroad has insurance that would be good enough to cover their costs for dismantling the bridge,” Savas said. “There might be some request for recovery of cost, and then we’ll know more.”

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said the railroad doesn’t yet have a cost estimate regarding the removal of the bridge. So it could be awhile before the railroad can talk with its insurance company and determine any possible next step for full reimbursement.

“Usually when there is an emergency like this, we do not have the billing in from the contractors for several months,” Davis said.

Next steps

Before the abandoned bridge was pulled down, Gladstone received a $200,000 grant to look into using it to connect a walking and biking path to the Oregon City trail. When the renovated Trolley Trail was opened in 2012, the number of people walking along it increased from 14 per hour to 48.

Trail planner Robert Spurlock says Metro will continue looking at all options to link the two trails: from using the Southeast 82nd Avenue bridge, upriver; to using the bridge downriver that carries Highway 99 East; or maybe even building a new bridge.

“The Gladstone and Oregon City community are still really eager to find a solution now that the bridge has been taken down. And we plan to work with them to continue to carry forward the success of the Trolley Trail,” Spurlock said.

The need for another sewer line across to Oregon City is part of the reason Savas supports “a great opportunity there between downtown Gladstone and the new Cove project in Oregon City.” If the county had to run a pipe across the current pedestrian bridge at High Rocks, then that structure would need a significant upgrade.

Meanwhile, due to high water in the Clackamas River, work to stabilize the cofferdam and clean up the flooded area between the cofferdam interior and exterior of the new intake structure was delayed and should be complete this week.

They had to clear out the flooded space before they could start pouring concrete and installing scaffolding.

“With the river being so high, the work that they were hoping do on the stabilization and cleanup they had to put off,” Fulton said.

Crews are continuing to prepare supports and scaffolding for the next stage of forming the pump station floor decking. Once the cofferdam cleanup is complete, a concrete pour will occur for the interior struts of the intake.

Neighbors may notice an increase in noise and truck traffic during the concrete pour. Starting last weekend, work hours increased to six days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Kristian Foden-Vencil of OPB contributed to this report.