Please Sir, Don’t Kill My Dream

A 7-year-old entrepreneur named Julie Murphy set up her lemonade stand at the monthly art fair in Northeast Portland. Julie had become enamored with 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.

Julie 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.

With gallons of bottled water and packets of Kool-Aid, they drove up to Portland last Thursday. 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.

According to The Oregonian, even before Julie 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,” her mom 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 have to leave or possibly face a $500 fine.

Surprised, Fife started to pack up. The people staffing the booths next to them encouraged them to stay, suggesting that they give away the lemonade and accept donations instead.

That’s when business really picked up — and two health inspectors showed up. Julie started crying, while her mother packed up and others confronted the inspectors. “It was a very big scene,” Fife said.

The government regulation she violated? Failing to get a $120 temporary restaurant license.

‘Technically, any lemonade stand — even one on your front lawn — must be licensed under state law,’ said Eric Pippert, program manager for the state’s public health division.

**Editor’s Opinion: This happens every summer. Kids showing their entrepreneurial skills trying to make a little pocket money and some branch of government kills their ‘dream’. How will this affect them when they grow up and want to start a business?
What they should do is amend the ordinance requiring the temporary restaurant license so that if you are under the age of 18, the license doesn’t cost you anything. The kids would still have to sign up for the license but wouldn’t have to pay the $120. This would show the kids that businesses are regulated by governments and sometimes need permits. The kids learn a lesson in government, the city gets great PR, and everyone wins.

Photo by The Oregonian.

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