Theodore's World: Portland Lemonade Stand Runs Into Health Inspectors, Needs $120 License to Operate

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August 06, 2010

Portland Lemonade Stand Runs Into Health Inspectors, Needs $120 License to Operate

Seven-year-old Julie Murphy of Oregon City still smiles about her enterprise despite running afoul of county inspectors for an unlicensed lemonade stand at Last Thursday.

Portland lemonade stand runs into health inspectors, needs $120 license to operate

It's hardly unusual to hear small-business owners gripe about licensing requirements or complain that heavy-handed regulations are driving them into the red.

So when Multnomah County shut down an enterprise last week for operating without a license, you might just sigh and say, there they go again.

Except this entrepreneur was a 7-year-old named Julie Murphy. Her business was a lemonade stand at the Last Thursday monthly art fair in Northeast Portland. The government regulation she violated? Failing to get a $120 temporary restaurant license.

Turns out that kids' lemonade stands -- those constants of summertime -- are supposed to get a permit in Oregon, particularly at big events that happen to be patrolled regularly by county health inspectors.

"I understand the reason behind what they're doing and it's a neighborhood event, and they're trying to generate revenue," said Jon Kawaguchi, environmental health supervisor for the Multnomah County Health Department. "But we still need to put the public's health first."

Julie had become enamored of the idea of having a stand after watching an episode of cartoon pig Olivia running one, said her mother, Maria Fife. The two live in Oregon City, but Fife knew her daughter would get few customers if she set up her stand at home.

Plus, Fife had just attended Last Thursday along Portland's Northeast Alberta Street for the first time and loved the friendly feel and the diversity of the grass-roots event. She put the two things together and promised to take her daughter in July.

The girl worked on a sign, coloring in the letters and decorating it with a drawing of a person saying "Yummy." She made a list of supplies.

Then, with gallons of bottled water and packets of Kool-Aid, they drove up last Thursday with a friend and her daughter. They loaded a wheelbarrow that Julie steered to the corner of Northeast 26th and Alberta and settled into a space between a painter and a couple who sold handmade bags and kids' clothing.

Even before her daughter had finished making the first batch of lemonade, a man walked up to buy a 50-cent cup.

"They wanted to support a little 7-year-old to earn a little extra summer loot," she said. "People know what's going on."
Even so, Julie was careful about making the lemonade, cleaning her hands with hand sanitizer, using a scoop for the bagged ice and keeping everything covered when it wasn't in use, Fife said.

After 20 minutes, a "lady with a clipboard" came over and asked for their license. When Fife explained they didn't have one, the woman told them they would need to leave or possibly face a $500 fine.

Surprised, Fife started to pack up. The people staffing the booths next to them encouraged the two to stay, telling them the inspectors had no right to kick them out of the neighborhood gathering. They also suggested that they give away the lemonade and accept donations instead and one of them made an announcement to the crowd to support the lemonade stand.

That's when business really picked up -- and two inspectors came back, Fife said. Julie started crying, while her mother packed up and others confronted the inspectors. "It was a very big scene," Fife said.
Technically, any lemonade stand -- even one on your front lawn -- must be licensed under state law, said Eric Pippert, the food-borne illness prevention program manager for the state's public health division. But county inspectors are unlikely to go after kids selling lemonade on their front lawn unless, he conceded, their front lawn happens to be on Alberta Street during Last Thursday.
"When you go to a public event and set up shop, you're suddenly engaging in commerce," he said. "The fact that you're small-scale I don't think is relevant."
Kawaguchi, who oversees the two county inspectors involved, said they must be fair and consistent in their monitoring, no matter the age of the person. "Our role is to protect the public," he said.

The county's shutdown of the lemonade stand was publicized by Michael Franklin, the man at the booth next to Fife and her daughter. Franklin contributes to the Bottom Up Radio Network, an online anarchist site, and interviewed Fife for his show.

Franklin is also organizing a "Lemonade Revolt" for Last Thursday in August. He's calling on anarchists, neighbors and others to come early for the event and grab space for lemonade stands on Alberta between Northeast 25th and Northeast 26th.

As for Julie, the 7-year-old still tells her mother "it was a bad day." When she complains about the health inspector, Fife reminds her that the woman was just doing her job. She also promised to help her try again -- at an upcoming neighborhood garage sale.

While Fife said she does see the need for some food safety regulation, she thinks the county went too far in trying to control events as unstructured as Last Thursday.

"As far as Last Thursday is concerned, people know when they are coming there that it's more or less a free-for-all," she said. "It's gotten to the point where they need to be in all of our decisions. They don't trust us to make good choices on our own."

Wild Thing's comment.......

Welcome... to Obamaville. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of any major health concerns stemming from a kid with a lemonade stand. Idiot(money hungry), bureaucrats.

So othey come down hard on an adorable liittle girl about a permit and they can't or won't do anything about ILLEAGALS that is OK so they can go and rape and kill and do what they want in our country. Amazing!!!

Too bad she is not an illegal, then she not only would not need a permit, but heck our government would give her free stuff.

I remember when lots of kids had lemonade stands with no problems, but that was in the early 50s, when America was the USA, not the new USSA.

As I am posting this, they just announced on FOX News on the Fox and friends show that little seven-year-old Julie Murphy will be on their show this morning. If you read this before she comes on you might want to turn it on and see what she has to say.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at August 6, 2010 06:49 AM


So does she need to be Bonded . I can see it now

Lemonade by Julie,
(Licensed, Bonded and insured)

I wonder if the Lemonade Union is involved in this.

Her profit margin has got to be zero but overhead costs is now at 1000%. This is why the Libs don't belong in government and certainly don't belong in running or regulating any business venture. They have no clue what is going on.

Posted by: Mark at August 6, 2010 08:41 AM

Silly little girl and mom. They thought they had freedom. No, they must answer to the Ministry of Lemonade Stands.

Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at August 6, 2010 10:35 AM

They should have hired an illegal do to it for her, then (i) the government would not have dared to inspect them, (ii) would have granted them amnesty in any event and (iii) should the inspector have had the temerity of doling out a fine they would have been confronted by the ACLU and other american-haters with lawsuits, not to mention a suit by the head of the Justice Department's civil rights division Perez! That's how it goes in Obama-land! Obama and this, it's the result of 50 years of the leftists march through the institutions!

Posted by: Eddy at August 6, 2010 02:54 PM

Just look at that cutie pie....this is terrible!!

Posted by: jan at August 6, 2010 06:02 PM

Big gov't in action. Bureaucrats (no thinking required) love it when something else is responsible for their actions, make 'em feel powerful-- protect the public (from itself, with glee).

Posted by: Anonymous at August 6, 2010 07:40 PM

Mark, LOL good one.
I saw on TV today they said she got an apology and the man said he would work on making it ok. This dear child will never forget what happened just for wanting to do a nice thing.

Tom, great way to put it too.

Eddy, exactly, they would have left the illegal alone.

Jan, yes she is adorable and very sweet. She was on TV and was very shy.

Anonymous, like how you added no thinking required, that is so true.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 6, 2010 11:20 PM

She's just adorable.

Posted by: Carlos at August 7, 2010 02:59 AM