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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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

ODOT welcomes Columbia River Crossing critics


I am writing to provide more complete information and provide a better context for an informed discussion about toll revenue projections for the I-5 replacement bridge project than some recent media accounts of selective data points.

First, let me provide some background on the experts providing us our detailed analysis. CDM Smith is a leader in the field of toll revenue forecasting. The firm was hired through a competitive request for proposal process in 2012 by a team that included the chief financial officer of ODOT and staff from the Oregon State Treasurer’s office. The firm has a strong reputation and track record in developing reliable forecasts for toll facilities and decades of experience with toll bond underwriters and rating agencies.

CDM Smith has completed multiple TIFIA financings through the Federal Highway Administration. Since 2009, its portfolio includes a dozen bond issuances totaling more than $8.6 billion. In recent years, its forecasts have exhibited a significant degree of accuracy: Six projects have shown actual revenues at least 6 percent above their estimates; nine projects have come within 5 percent of their forecasts, and three projects have come in with revenues more than 6 percent below their estimates.

Most recent toll revenue analysis

It is important to note that the study being discussed was to determine if there were enough vehicles crossing the Columbia River on I-5 to generate sufficient toll revenue to pay the debt service on the toll-funded portion of CRC financing plan.

Even using prudently conservative assumptions, CDM Smith’s findings to date confirm that the project can be financed with toll revenues. The scenarios CDM Smith analyzed use reasonable assumptions about economic and job growth, regional population growth and other factors, based on long-term population and economic trends.

Scenario B, for example, is designed to provide a lower bound of gross toll revenue, and uses the ECONW Low Forecast of economic activity and no increases in toll rates after the bridge opens in 2022. Even using these prudently conservative assumptions, CDM Smith’s report from Sept. 2 and analysis by additional financial consultants estimates that at current interest rates the project will generate over $1.3 billion total revenue from tolls.

I-205 diversion review

CDM Smith’s work has been focused on estimating revenue from tolling I-5. Their work is NOT designed to estimate diversion to I-205. This work is fundamentally different than the traffic analysis completed for the Final Environmental Impact Statement, and with very different goals in mind. The purpose of the investment grade analysis and modeling is to assess revenue potential, including prudent assumptions that will not overstate revenue.

For the NEPA environmental studies, the project team must make assumptions that will not understate traffic and its impact on the environment. Traffic volumes in supporting the investment grade analysis are solely intended for the purposes of developing appropriate revenue forecasts for project financing purposes. Because of this goal, traffic forecasts in this toll revenue evaluation are lower than those used for the CRC NEPA process and for operational planning purposes.

Project analysis has confirmed since 2008 that I-205 has limited capacity and will reach capacity by 2030 due to normal regional growth regardless of whether the I-5 replacement bridge project is built. Tolling I-5 may move this date forward, but it will not by itself cause I-205 to reach capacity. Modeling assumes route choices are influenced by the cost of trip in terms of time and money and whether or not transit is a viable option for the trip. Consequently, the CRC’s financial analysis of traffic and tolling has always found that a significant immediate reduction in traffic on I-5 would occur due to tolling. The analysis has also found that some trips would shift to I-205, other trips across the river would be foregone, some trips would shift to non-highway modes (particularly light rail), and the motorists would adjust the time of some trips to avoid peak hour tolls. The demand for river crossings is increasing due to regional growth. I-205 will be overcrowded with or without the Columbia River Crossing; tolling makes this happen sooner but is not the reason that it happens.

The I-5 replacement bridge project is one of the most scrutinized, reviewed and analyzed projects by legislators, citizens, local elected officials and federal partners. Our most recent toll report was completed Sept. 2 and delivered to the Oregon State Treasurer and legislators with other materials on Sept. 12. For the last two years presentations to legislative committees have included discussions on diversion because diversion is always part of the equation in every toll project across the country. Additionally, the project is the subject of extensive public records requests by the media, opponents to the project and interested citizens.

Mr. Cortright, a paid lobbyist for Plaid Pantry, a project opponent, has made 55 separate requests since March 2011. We welcome his continued interest.

Finally, funding transportation and infrastructure improvements is a challenge for our state and our nation. The partnership of federal, state and toll funding sources for the I-5 replacement bridge project allows us to address a major infrastructure problem over the Columbia River.

ODOT recognizes the importance of rigorous, consistent, timely and transparent review of the data used to determine the feasibility of these financing elements.

Matthew L. Garrett, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, is writing to Gov. John Kitzhaber, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek.