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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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Trolley bridge gone, but not forgotten


Local span's failure could inspire some creative solutions -

Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette says she was among the local leaders who were on the verge of tears seeing Union Pacific’s century-old trolley bridge dismantled in March, lamenting its loss of potential to allow a direct connection to Oregon City for people walking and biking Gladstone’s Trolley Trail from Milwaukie.

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.At least there are other options, but they’re all less attractive than the bridge would have been, Collette said. You don’t have to watch out for cars on the Trolley Trail, but the current Clackamas River pedestrian bridge sends most trail users out of their way eastward into streets feeding toward Interstate 205. To the west, Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard’s own century-old bridge forces pedestrians and bicyclists onto narrow sidewalks next to highway-speed traffic.

“Making that connection is really important, because the McLoughlin/99E bridge doesn’t look like it would be fun to bike across,” Collette said. “The one farther to the east looks like it would be a good bridge, but especially if you’re walking, you’re going to want to walk directly down Portland Avenue and across.”

Not all hope is lost for another bridge between the communities, however. Thankfully, $200,000 from Metro could be a general transportation grant to find ways to connect the Trolley Trail to Oregon City, so the funding for planning isn’t necessarily lost with the bridge.

On another hopeful note, the Oregon Department of Transportation recently replaced bridges throughout the state using funds from the Oregon Transportation Improvement Program, so there might be something salvageable.

“ODOT and Portland’s Bureau of Transportation have old bridges that they could potentially give us from the bridges that they’ve been replacing, which weren’t any longer safe for cars, though with some work, they’d probably be perfect for bikers and walkers,” Collette said.

Some beams available

If there are some bridges throughout the region just sitting in warehouses for the taking, Gladstone and Oregon City officials would have a hard time turning down the offer. Although Metro was ready to advance Gladstone the $200,000 before the bridge’s collapse, now it’s not clear how quickly anything is going to move, Collette said.

“It’s up to the regional elected officials, the Metro Council, what to do with the planning grant,” said Metro Trails Planning Director Robert Spurlock. “One possibility for what to do with the money would be to look into a bike/ped crossing at the same location.”

The Oregon Legislature’s $2.46 billion Transportation Investment Act of 2003 provided $1.3 billion to repair or replace hundreds of aging state-owned bridges in Oregon. Lots of bridges were built statewide from the 1930s to the ’60s, and the vast majority of the funds went to reinforcing bridges rather than replacing them. While some may hope that there are still some bridges that could become available, the program is essentially over, and the last two to three projects will likely remove whole bridges rather than dismantling them.

“We replaced 149 and repaired 122, and they were replaced throughout the state, and we salvaged over 100 beams from the Willamette River bridge down in Eugene,” said ODOT spokeswoman Jyll Smith.

The remaining 24 114-foot concrete beams with steel rebar in the middle are cut at a 25-degree angle, so that would make them of “questionable” usefulness for a Trolley Bridge replacement. Suzanne Roberts of Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners, which contracts with ODOT, says that it would cost Gladstone or Metro about $2,500 for each used beam as opposed to new for $17,000. There’s also the cost of moving and cleaning them that would need to be considered.

Who should pay for the bridge?

Meanwhile, some murmurs continue against Lake Oswego’s nearby project to pump Clackamas River water to Tigard. But construction officials say that Lake Oswego can’t be held responsible, even by rumor, for a bridge that was constructed before seismic standards.

Gladstone resident Tammy Stempel, who is not an engineer, but is surrounded by engineers working at Adept Engineering, said it’s impossible that the pipeline project upstream didn’t have some effect on the bridge. Stempel, who also is chairwoman of the Gladstone Planning Commission has been alarmed by the construction at the River Intake Pump Station on Clackamas Boulevard, and she thinks Gladstone should be able to get funding to repair the embankment from damage caused by Lake Oswego’s cofferdam.

“My concern is that the dam is still causing erosion, and the longer it’s there, the longer the damage to the bank will continue,” she said.

Lake Oswego spokeswoman Jane Heisler noted “there’s an awful lot of hearsay out there” and any allegations that the pipeline project had something to do with the trolley-bridge collapse are “completely unsubstantiated.”

“Other than being very close to one another, it would be hard to say, given the age of the structure,” Heisler said.

As for the erosion concerns between the cofferdam and the bank, Lake Oswego’s project has super sacks lined up along the bank, which are basically bags of aggregate rocks that they’ll have to remove when the project is complete. “Soldier piles” help stabilize the bank so it will remain in place.

“We have 14 ground anchors that are drilled down into the bedrock, so we don’t think it’s going anywhere,” Heisler said.

Crews contracted through Lake Oswego have been focused lately on pouring concrete for the interior walls of a 56-foot slab.

Last week, excavation started for an access bridge to the new structure, which will continue this week. In late May, a large concrete pour will occur for the bridge’s decking.

Neighbors can expect some noise Monday through Friday, with some Saturdays, and increased truck traffic during the excavation and concrete pour.

Representatives from Frank Coluccio Construction will provide members of the public the opportunity to learn about the pipeline work approach in Gladstone and their anticipated schedule from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at the Gladstone Senior Center, 1050 Portland Ave.

Starting this week, crews will begin preparing the drilling site in Meldrum Bar Park for construction. This includes installing an office trailer, security fencing and mobilizing drilling equipment. Signage also will be installed through the park and on the fencing of the staging area.

Drilling work is expected to begin June 5, including installation of a pipe casing prior to drilling the tunnel under the river. The installation of the casing is expected to be very noisy for about two weeks during work hours, which are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.