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Iconic 'B' is saved for posterity as demolition begins to make way for five-story mixed-use building

The iconic sign for Bernard's Garage has been moved SUBMITTED PHOTO - Michael DeWitz accepts the old Bernard's Garage sign on behalf of the Milwaukie Museum. He and other citizens have long admired how the automotive shop's sign is shaped like a wrench moving a bolt.to the Milwaukie Musuem in preparation for a five-story mixed-use building next to the city's light-rail stop.

Demolition of the rest of the auto-repair business that had been downtown for more than 90 years is expected to take place next week. Developers had initially wanted to reinstall the "B" sign atop their newly constructed building, but this month they said that plan didn't work with their final design.

"Thank you to RH Construction and Guardian Properties for donating the sign, and Security Sign for providing the removal and placement for free," said Milwaukie Museum spokesman Greg Hemer.

Tom Brenneke, president of Guardian Real Estate Services, paid Clackamas County Chairman Jim Bernard $1.8 million for the more than half-an-acre site last May. Brenneke thinks the location next to the SUBMITTED PHOTO - Curators placed the iconic 'B' of Bernard's Garage outside the Milwaukie Museum next to the trolley barn. MAX platform is "really strong" for 110 apartments on top of 7,000 square feet of retail. With high ceilings on the ground floor, he hopes the new building, to open in 2019, will attract a 3,600-square-foot restaurant/brewery to anchor the site and become a regional destination. He is currently negotiating a lease with the potential anchor tenant.

Sera Architects, internationally recognized for its green buildings, will include in the project features like a green roof, energy-efficient windows/appliances and water-saving plumbing. Studios and one-bedroom apartments will rent for at least $1,300 a month, and two-bedroom apartments will fetch about $2,000 a month, Brenneke predicts.

Brenneke, 53, grew up in Milwaukie, graduated in 1980 from La Salle High School just east of city limits and still has a great love for the area.

RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Tom Brenneke at the corner lot formerly owned by Clackamas County Chairman Jim Bernard in downtown Milwaukie. Bernard's Garage is now closed, and a five-story building will be replacing it and other nearby buildings.

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