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ROUND TABLE: Walkin’ man Dave Phelps quietly retires

And the walkin’ man walks …”

When Dave Phelps announced his retirement Monday, I thought of the line from the old James Taylor tune from the 1970s.

But Dave always had a mission and never a “hypothetical destination,” as the song reads. The same can be said for retirement, which starts Thursday for Dave, the community service officer with Hood River Police Department.

He’s in charge of code enforcement, evidence management, and, his most prominent role, parking enforcement.

Eight miles a day, on average, he would walk. A pair of shoes lasts four months.

And he loves it.

The walking man walks. “Any other man stops and talks, but the walking man walks.”

But the thing is, Dave Phelps will now be able to stop and talk, and he looks forward to it. He and his wife, Diana, live 2 miles from the post office, and those walks downtown and back will be a regular thing for Dave, who at 61 knows the health — physical and mental — benefits of walking.

And now, no more hassles. No more “encounters that were different than they should have been,” as the 33-year law enforcement veteran diplomatically puts it.

“There was some over the top stuff, a few of those, a few people have come in said things that didn’t occur,” Dave said.

Full disclosure: I had one of those run-ins with Dave, a year or two ago. I got angrier than I should have when I got a ticket and, later than I should have, I apologized. He was a gentleman throughout, just as he’s always been every time I’ve ever talked to him.

Checking the meters is a thankless job in a world where parking violators are like NBA players: They react to the referees like they have never committed a foul in their life.

And now the walking man walks, and talks, and you’ll find Dave’s a guy with plenty of experience to talk about. He’s a father and a grandfather, and he and Diana did three years’ service in Ukraine with the Peace Corps before they settled in Hood River.

“We plan to stay. This is our community now,” he said.

Hats off to Dave and his service to the community. It says something about him that when City Council gave him a round of applause Monday night, he kept walking.

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