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… “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.” …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.
Great Moments in Local Government
August 6, 2010 by Dan Mitchell
Julie Murphy is obviously a dangerous criminal. What else would you call a 7-year-old girl who does something as dangerous and illegal as operating a lemonade stand without getting a $120 temporary restaurant license? Fortunately, the health and safety of the people of Multnomah County were protected when an alert bureaucrat shut down her lemonade trafficking operation.