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

Letters: Riverfront Park; Willamette Falls; light rail


Back in 1998, the city of Milwaukie identified the riverfront park as a priority project. In the last couple years, City Council has rated the park as a top priority and we are starting to see things take shape.

At the end of the year in 2012, we saw the opening of Klein Point on the north end of the park through the help of funds received by Metro and a generous land donation by the Klein family.

This year we applied for two grants and asked for matching funds from the Kellogg Good Neighbor fund to build a trail, boat ramp, restrooms, parking and to relocate power poles. We were successful and will receive funds from the Oregon Marine Board and Oregon Parks and Recreation. We now have approximately $2.5 million to get Milwaukie Riverfront Park underway.

By the end of next year we will have a re-contoured park, pathway by the river, a new boat launch, two parking areas and other amenities.

We still have a ways to go to finish the park, but we are getting there. So far the park is really turning into a regional partnership, and I’m sure folks from all over will see this as an attraction and come visit our city.

We still have a ways to go. There’s a capital campaign to help raise the money needed to complete the middle section of the park. Know a business that wants to sponsor a community space or a person that would like to see a playground at the river? Let us know, we want to make this YOUR park.

For more information on the capital campaign and to see updates on the project, visit milwaukieoregon.gov/communitydevelopment/riverfront-park, or contact Parks & Sustainability Director JoAnn Herrigel at 503-786-7503 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jeremy Ferguson

Milwaukie mayor

Participation needed

The date of this writing follows our July 27 First City Celebration on Main Street.

The “First” modifies “City” and not Celebration, Oregon being the first city west of the Missouri River having a formal charter that specifies the nature of its elected municipal government. Of course, this First City was the capital of the Oregon Territory and was founded because of its great waterfall that provided power for early industry and that formed the gateway to the fertile soils of the upper Willamette Valley.

That waterfall-site was the industrial center of Oregon City dating back to the opening of the territory’s first saw mill completed by John McLoughlin in 1832. Blue Heron bankruptcy represented an end to that industrial era and ushered in the beginning of a new era. The vision for that new era is our responsibility.

At the First City Festival, I along with three others had the honor and privilege of addressing festival participants, talking about the vision process for this Willamette Falls Legacy site. Those who addressed the festival’s participants were: Oregon City’s manager — David Frasher (does not rhyme with masher); our region’s representative to the council of the Metro Regional Government — Carlota Collette; chairman of the Clackamas County Board of Commission — John Ludlow; and myself. After our address, we blew four mechanical loud horns whose blast symbolically announced the shift change from one era into the next. The vision for that new era is to be developed through a master-planning process.

That master plan for the site is to be developed through a public process and presented to the Oregon City Planning Commission by April of 2014 and later to the Oregon City Commission. There are four core values that guide the process:

n Public Access—ensuring places for the public to gather and have access to Willamette Falls (which has not been available to public access for 150 years and which is second only to Niagara Falls for annual waterfall flow in North America).

n Economic Redevelopment—providing jobs and prosperity.

n Healthy Habitat—maintaining, restoring and protecting the unique ecosystem of fish, wildlife and plants along the river.

n Historic and Cultural Interpretation—providing opportunities to connect to the heritage and history as well as current cultural practices related to the Falls.

This master-planning process is one in which everyone is a stakeholder and in which everyone can get involved by accessing the project website at rediscoverthefalls.com and filling out a survey, by participating in public meetings and by corresponding directly to:

Willamette Falls Legacy Project

c/o Christina Robertson-Gardiner

Community Development Department—City of Oregon City

P. O. Box 3040

Oregon City OR 97045

In Christina’s words: “Through this process we want to create a strong inspirational vision that is rooted in economic feasibility, but that looks forward to seeing a vibrant active space that honors those who have come before us, provides opportunities to create a healthier habit and brings back productive family-wage jobs to our community.”

Please become part of this process.

Doug Neeley

Oregon City mayor

Light rail is the problem

I think everyone can agree that the Interstate 5 bridge needs to be replaced. The question is: How do we go about it? And which way is the most cost effective?

Oregon’s elected officials are not listening to the taxpayers, the people who voted them into office. It is obvious that the elected officials in Washington listened to the taxpayers there. Keep in mind that two Clackamas County commissioners lost their jobs last November because they wouldn’t listen to the majority of taxpayers in Clackamas County. This trend is going to continue.

The problem with the CRC is light rail. The majority of taxpayers in both states have said no. There is so much interstate commerce that uses this bridge is the reason for needing a new bridge.

To improve the flow of traffic would require more lanes. If light rail is built on the bridge, then there is no room for more lanes. So, then what is the point? The flow of traffic would be no different than it is now. In fact it would probably be worse. Some will say what about the future? What future is there for our kids and grand-kids if projects like this financially strap them? Wisconsin built a bridge for $3.6 million. Not $3.4 billion or $2.75 billion. A bridge at or near the cost of the Wisconsin bridge would be more effective.

To our elected officials throughout the state of Oregon: If you would rather listen to your campaign contributors and NOT the taxpayers, then maybe it is time for you to seek other employment. This also pertains to judges, who, by the way, are also elected officials.

Jeff Molinari


We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words; longer submissions will be considered for Community Soapboxes. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, libel and appropriate taste. Letters must be accompanied by a full name, a telephone number and street address for verification purposes. Readers are also invited to call 503-546-0742 with story ideas and comments.