7-Year-Old Oregonian Gets Valuable Lesson About Business, Government

Lemonade StandI don’t know what to say. I’m just glad this scofflaw is off the streets. Just read this:

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."

Riiiiiiight. A little perspective could go a long way, Oregon.

HAPPY UPDATE: After the county chairman urged health inspectors to use "professional discretion," the young lady was allowed to open her stand back up and made nearly $2,000. She and her mother will be celebrating the same place Super Bowl Champions do — in Disneyland. Kudos to government officials involved for ultimately applying common sense to this matter.

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Jonathan Wales for the update.