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Security shuts down Oregon girl’s fundraising project, told she can beg

CBS 12 screen shot
Madison Root, 11, protests Portland’s permitting rules, which allows people to beg for money without a permit but asks for youngsters to have permits to sell homemade items on the street.

An 11-year-old Oregon girl, who attempted to raise some cash to help her parents pay for her braces, was told by security at an artists market on Saturday, that she needed to get a permit to sell her homemade items on the street or beg for the money.

Madison Root’s father, Ashton Root, told Oregon Live that his daughter came up with the idea to sell bags of mistletoe from her uncle’s farm to help pay for her braces after hearing stories about things he used to do as a kid to pay for things his parents couldn’t afford.

Madison and her father decided to set up a box of mistletoe wrapped in cellophane bags outside a park where an artists market was going on to sell items she made in effort to raise the funds for her braces. Shortly after setting up however, a security officer approached the pair and asked to see their permit. Mr. Root told the officer they didn’t have one and weren’t aware they needed one for an 11-year-old to sell homemade bags of mistletoe in the public square.

When Root asked if the street musicians or homeless population, who were begging for money, had permits, the officer told them that they didn’t need one and if Madison wanted to beg for money, she could do that without a permit. The officer explained —  if they were actually selling an item, they would need to comply with city code and get a permit.

Mr. Root told Oregon Live, “We totally understand the rule. But here she was selling mistletoe and all around her were people playing music for money, or asking for money for pot, or just spare change. We’re allowing people to beg, but not to sell; it seems like there should be some sort of exception.”

Madison also chimed in. “The city laws are supporting begging and are against working,” she protested.

Madison also told CBS 12, “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. This is a public place.”

“There were people just next to me, who got big signs next to me that said ‘got pot’. They’re raising money for pot! And I’m trying to sell mistletoe [to raise money for a good cause],” continued Madison.

After hearing of the young girl’s mistletoe shut-down, Ken Cook, the owner of McKenzie Farms, a Christmas tree farm, donated $1000 towards Madison’s braces. Cook reportedly liked Madison’s entrepreneurial spirit.

While Madison was able to take the money and get braces on her top row of teeth, she plans on protesting Portland’s rules on Saturday, December 14, at the Skidmore Fountain where her business was shut down. She thinks the city needs to make exceptions in cases where kids are fundraising for good reasons and doing the right the thing, rather than promote asking for handouts. Madison said, “I want to work, not beg.”