Mayor to 'Mistletoe Girl': Follow the rules

Mayor to 'Mistletoe Girl': Follow the rules

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by Nina Mehlhaf, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 4:15 PM

PORTLAND -- Her story has been making national headlines this week, and now 11-year-old Madison Root of Lake Oswego is also getting the attention of Portland's mayor and city commissioners.

Mayor Charlie Hales said the council won't be going to great lengths to change city codes, but commissioners are looking at the rules for public parks like Ankeny Square and the Skidmore Fountain downtown where the controversy started.

Background: Girl shut down for selling mistletoe to try again

Those rules say if you don't have a permit, you cannot sell things or do business in public parks. However, the rules do allow panhandling, begging and performing for money because that's considered free speech.

Root wants to raise money to help pay for her $6,000 braces. This past weekend, she went to her uncle's Newberg property and picked fresh mistletoe, put it in holiday baggies, and sold it for $4 while standing in front of the Skidmore Fountain during Saturday Market.

A Saturday market security guard told her to leave because she didn't have a permit. Now she's getting orders from people around the country who say Portland seems to support begging more than hard work.

"It's not about mistletoe. It's not about me being kicked out. It's about all of us," Root said. "It's about society accepting begging more than hard work and to set a goal for ourselves."

Mayor Hales told NewsChannel 8 he fully supports Root and will find a way for her sell her mistletoe legally at Saturday Market, but he said she needs to follow the rules without "massive governmental action".

"Anybody who's had a kid trying to earn money or been a kid trying to earn money empathizes with her," said Hales. "We also have a Saturday Market here that's very successful and part of the reason it's so successful is because they have people who pay to have booths there, so they have to manage their space. She's got to follow the rules. So hopefully there's a way for her to do that and do what she wants to do."

Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz declined to stop and talk to KGW at City Hall, but the mayor said he has her looking into possible changes to parks rules.

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