Oregon girl's lemonade stand shut down by health inspector

KIRO Radio
Listen to Dan's report

A 7-year-old girl in suburban Portland got an apology from a county official in Oregon after the Multnomah County Health Inspector shut down her lemonade stand.

Inspired by a cartoon pig, Julie Murphy got to work. She made a sign, coloring in the letters and decorating it with a drawing of a person saying "Yummy."

She set up her stand at an art fair in northeast Portland last week, selling drinks for 50 cents a cup.

Then a health inspector showed up.

"She handed me a piece of paper," said Julie's mother, Maria Fife, "and indicated that I would have a fine of $500 if I continued to sell and she told me that I needed to pack up and go home."

Other vendors, including an anarchist organization stepped in. They suggested a change of the sign to a "suggested donation" of 50 cents.

Business boomed, but the inspectors returned and demanded the stand shut down.

"I didn't know what to do," said Fife. "My daughter was sobbing. I just got a new job and I kind of wanted to keep it. So getting arrested over a lemonade stand wasn't on my agenda."

Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen says while the inspectors were doing their job, the rules are meant for professional food service operators.

"My kids sell lemonade. I used to sell lemonade, when I was a kid. And I just don't want to create a community where kids can't sell lemonade."

Cogen called the family and apologized. He promised Julie something special in the mail today.

Cogen also told health inspectors to use more discretion when enforcing rules.

"I don't think a 7 year-old selling lemonade is the biggest health threat that we're facing as a county."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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