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Who can resist a kids’ lemonade stand? Apparently, health inspectors. It seems there’s no “American Dream” in one Oregon county—where health inspectors have forced closure of a small girl's lemonade business at a local arts fair -- shutting down the kid's enterprise despite backing from vendors.
7-year-old Julie Murphy will now be allowed to maintain the “wild” profits from her 50-cent-per-cup lemonade offerings, but Oregon state Multnomah County health inspectors have left fair vendors and attendees bitter.
The Oregon girl, in full swing of operating her lemonade venture, was surprised by a health inspector visit that occurred during a local Oregon arts fair. Stopped by a county inspector, who asked the child and her mother to view a restaurant license, the girl apparently “wasn’t up to snuff” in previously obtaining a license: the health inspector told she and her mother that the duo would face up to a $500 cash fine, if lemonade stand sales weren’t ceased immediately.
The small girl won the favor of other arts fair vendors, who urged the 7-year-old Murphy and her mother to stand ground, and not leave the county event—but the Oregon inspector called for “back-up”, ultimately calling a second county health inspector who arrived to enforce the “ruling” and force closure of the lemonade stand.
In the meantime, the child -- who had won full crowd support from vendor attendees -- had some backing. While the lemonade stand was packed, the child left crying, the bullying event of a 7-year-old girl that has apparently served to stand as a bit of a PR embarrassment to the Oregon county employing the inspectors.
Jeff Cogen, county chairman of Multnomah County, says health inspectors were "just following the rule book." That said, even police officers and law enforcement are taught to differentiate between the law itself and the “spirit of the law”. County chairman Cogen now admits that health inspectors should have cut the enterprising girl a break — and has since issued public apology to the Murphy family: "A lemonade stand is a classic, iconic American kid thing to do," Cogen told Oregon state media. "I don't want to be in the business of shutting that [entrepreneurialism] down."
Julie’s mother, Maria Fife, says her young daughter appreciates the apology — but children do tend to be more forgiving, while elephants and adults carry an extended (and occasionally more bitter) memory of events. Rumors now abound, that at least one local arts fair vendor is planning a "Lemonade Revolt" during the next arts fair slated to be held in the Oregon county later this month. Apparently county health inspectors have become even less popular than normal, when venturing into the realm of picking on small kids.
Cogen says he doesn't know what he'll do if a number of the art fair’s vendors suddenly attempt to sell lemonade without a license—but, unless he’s striving for an additional PR nightmare, that probably won’t include attempts to have the masses arrested.