'Downtown Dan' keeps on truckin'

I heard a rumor that Medford's "Downtown Dan" was dead, and I haven't seen him around lately. Is this true?

— H.H., Medford

"Downtown Dan" Doty is alive and well and still racking up the miles walking the streets of Medford with a cigarette, his perpetual Walkman and an uncanny ability to recognize by name hundreds of people.

And when you say "hi" back to Dan this week, also wish him a happy birthday.

The iconic Medford man turns 53 on Wednesday, when the minions of Since You Asked Central will take Dan to lunch, as has been the tradition here.

Everyone seems to know Medford's most recognizable pedestrian, the grizzled, red-faced man who has walked the streets and engagingly panhandled residents for the past 25 years.

And Doty in turn seems to know everyone, where the people work, even when they go to the coffee shop on Thursdays. From community leaders to soda jerks, Doty knows all and approaches all.

Most happily accept his bug-eyed hello, even those he hits up for spare change or a cigarette.

Doty stops by the Mail Tribune regularly to chat about the news and occasionally call his sister in Oklahoma.

Doty says he's battling some sore knees but he still gets around. He was spotted in Fichtner-Mainwaring Park playing pick-up basketball during the Rogue Valley Cup.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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