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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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Public market could rekindle Mill O's 'flood of light'


Blue Heron Beginnings: Commentary on the Willamette Falls Legacy Project

After Publishers’ Paper purchased the Oregon City Woolen Mills in September 1954, the entire complex became known as “Mill O.”

Regrettably, Publishers’ razed the main Woolen Mills building in 1980. However, two other Woolen Mills legacy structures remain. One is the former Woolen Mills pullery/picking warehouse, one of a number of buildings constructed in 1903 to replace several that went up in a conflagration that year, and which Publishers’ converted to its Carpentry Shop.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: PUBLISHERS PAPER - A mid-century photo from the cover of a Publishers' Paper Tour Guide shows the 1917 Mill O Building, foreground, with its huge windows on the north side. To the left is the Woolen Mills, and behind MIll O is the 1903 Woolen Mills pullery / picking warehouse.The other ranks as one of the keystones of the Blue Heron site’s future: the Woolen Mills’ annex built by the Oregon City Manufacturing Co. in 1917, and now known uniquely as “Mill O.”

Mill O, which stands directly on the bank of the Willamette, has survived every episode of river flooding since its construction; but another type of flood defines both its past character and future potential: A flood of light.

The Oregon City Enterprise employed this very term in describing plans for the new structure in a front-page article of its Dec. 22, 1916, edition. For its fascinating detail and context, the article merits a full reprinting:


Announcement of plans for the construction of a three-story, 80 by 250 feet, reinforced concrete addition to the plant of the Oregon City Manufacturing company and the complete re-arrangement of the plant, improvements which will increase the capacity of the mill 50 per cent and make it the largest woolen mill west of the Mississippi river, was made Saturday by Adolph R. Jacobs, president of the company. Construction will be started in the near future, said Mr. Jacobs.

The new three-story concrete addition will extend along the south side of Third Street toward the river from the present three-story brick building which fronts along Main. The top floor will be occupied by the company’s enlarged garment factory, the second floor by the weave room, with 150 of the most modern type of looms, and the ground floor will be used for a machine room, storage and a cafeteria and kitchens.

The building will have 60,000 square feet of floor space, an equal to one and a half Portland city blocks.

Much light and fresh air

One of the features of the new structure will be its lighting. The roof will be of the monitor type, with five-foot windows. On three sides of the building from one end to the other and from the floor to the roof of each story will be large glass windows, admitting a flood of light.

Ventilation, too, has received close attention from Mr. Jacobs in preparing the plans for the building, and each floor will be supplied with fresh air by use of a fan system.

On the first floor of the new building will be a modern cafeteria, in which the mill will serve food to its employees at cost. Kitchens will adjoin the cafeteria.

The construction of this new building, however, is only a part of the plans. Practically every machine in the entire plant will be moved, all old machines will be scrapped or sold and only the latest types of machinery installed.

Complete rearrangement of plant

A complete re-arrangement of the plant from basement to roof, therefore is necessary. Economy of handling the products in their various stages of manufacture has entered largely into the drafting of the plans for the new mill. Wool will be unloaded from cars on one side of the track and the finished garments, blankets, rugs and other products loaded on the other.

This entire change in the arrangement of the mill will be made principally because it will mean a saving in handling.

With these improvements made the local woolen mill will be the equal of any of the east in equipment and qualify of product, and will also rank as one of the largest in the nation. Its position as the largest west of the Mississippi will be undisputed.

Payroll greatly increased

With the addition completed 150 more hands will be employed and the payroll increased about 50 percent. The mill will then employ 550 persons.

The Oregon City Manufacturing company has a market for its wares which is national in scope. The products, or better say, the sales of their products, total over $1,000,000 per year. The famous Navajo Art Craft wares which have been a specialty in the mills for many years, have won the grand prize at practically all the big expositions in the country in the last quarter of a century. The Oregon City Indian blankets are a standard all over the United States.

The factory is one of the few woolen mills in the country where every process from the receipt of the wool, is completed under one roof. In addition to the Indian wares, the mills make almost every known article of woolen wear, including mackinaws, robes, pants, blankets, etc. These articles are made in the garment factory, itself a complete industry in the big mills.


by: PHOTO BY: JAMES NICITA - Mill O today. The south-facing windows have been covered up or obstructed by metal shed. The Woolen Mills pullery building is to the left, with the black tar roof.

The Oregon City Courier reported the completion of the building in May of 1917. After nearly 40 years of service to the Woolen Mills, Mill O rendered new service for a half century to the paper making operation of Publishers’ Paper and its successor firms. In 1958, Publishers’ converted Mill O into a kraft grocery bag plant.

Over time, changes to Mill O blocked the flood of light. In 1956 Oregon City vacated 3rd St. from Main St. to the Willamette River, to accommodate Publishers’ desire to expand the Paper Machine No. 2 and Paper Machine No. 3 buildings. In particular, the expansion of Paper Machine No. 3, coupled with the construction of an unsightly metal canopy over the remainder of the vacated 3rd St. right-of-way, now block most of the large windows on the north façade from receiving direct sunlight.

Similarly, two non-distinct metal sheds on either side of the historic pullery building — the pipe shop and the millwright shop — obstruct many of Mill O’s massive south-facing windows; several others on the south façade have been boarded over altogether.

Elements of the program in the draft Master Plan of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project (WFLP) should help restore Mill O’s flood of light. The plan calls for the demolition of the pipe shop and the millwright shop — as well as the historic Woolen Mills pullery, a much more debatable proposition — to create a central open space along the Willamette River. Clearing these two metal sheds, and uncovering the boarded-up windows, will restore Mill O’s direct southern light exposure. Restoring 3rd Street as a public street, and removing the metal canopy and the Paper Machine No. 3 expansion, will restore access to light on the north side of Mill O.

by: PHOTO BY: JAMES NICITA - Mill O interior elements include old growth timber beams and ceiling slats.Upgrading or replacing all these windows will prove one of the major expenses of a first-rate redevelopment of Mill O. Fortunately, the State Historic Preservation Officer has identified both Mill O and the Woolen Mills pullery building as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The 20 percent historic investment tax credit that comes with an actual listing on the National Register would be a significant aid in such a window upgrade, along with the rest of Mill O’s redevelopment.

If you get a chance this summer, take a tour of Blue Heron and visit inside Mill O. If you are traveling north, take the opportunity to visit Seattle’s Pike Place Market, or Vancouver, B.C.’s Granville Island Public Market, for an adrenaline-dose of inspiration and excitement as to what Mill O’s future might look like. The latter in particular is a converted industrial building, complete with historic elements like gantry cranes from which giant hooks on chains dangle above the milling crowds.

Large cuts in the upper floors of Mill O could create an atrium-like effect, whereby the light from all three floors would flood down upon the bustle of activity on the ground floor, and, in turn, people on the ground floor could gaze up at the amazing old-growth timbers and panels that support Mill O’s roof. The effect of the light might be enhanced further by the periodic insertion, in the vast array of fenestration, of grant-funded individual stained-glass windows: here a representation of the Imperial Mills, there a geometric pattern based on the Willamette petroglyphs, etc.

by: PHOTO BY: JAMES NICITA - One of the Grandville Island Public Market's gantry cranes.A Mill O public market could become the anchor of a series of other family-friendly, revenue-generating recreational destinations created out of historic-designated buildings along the riverfront, all tied together by the planned riverfront promenade: a riverside carousel within the historic Woolen Mills pullery adjacent to Mill O; a recreational complex under a twin-pitched pavilion roof built over the historic Brick Mill and Paper Machine No. 3 foundations (see “No. 3 Paper Machine: The Treasure in a Box”, OC News, April 2, 2014); a water park on the site of Blue Heron’s water filtration plant.

Encouragingly, Blue Heron’s new owner George Heidgerken has been quoted as saying that a “very active” farmers market is among the ideas he has for the site. Here’s hoping that Mr. Heidgerken will be inspired by Mill O, and its flood of light.

Oregon City resident James Nicita is a former city commissioner.