A young Oregon entrepreneur wanted to help her father pay for her braces by selling mistletoe, but instead, she was stopped by a Portland security guard and told to beg.
Madison Root, 11, arrived at Portland Saturday Market to sell the plants she cut and wrapped herself from her uncle’s farm in Newberg, Ore.
That’s when a security guard came and asked her to stop selling the mistletoe because she was violating city rules.
Chapter 20.12.020 of the Portland city code says that soliciting for or conducting business includes the display of "goods, or descriptions or depictions of goods or services, with the intent to engage any member of the public in a transaction for the sale of any good or service.”
The private security guard told Madison that she could sell mistletoe on the sidewalk, but not in the market, or just ask around for donations for her braces, she told KATU News.
“The guard told her she can beg if she wanted but she can’t sell the mistletoe,” Root’s father, Ashton told, ABCNews.com. He also said that Root “does not want to encourage begging and wants people to earn their living… She is so keen on high work ethic.”
“I don’t want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg,” Madison told KATU News. “I wouldn’t think I’d have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place.”
But vendors pay to rent a booth and are examined before they’re ready to sell at the Portland Saturday Market, officials said.
“Applying for a booth is a juried process. I had to show samples of my jewelry to a panel of jurists. … We have to pay to maintain our spot at the market,” owner and designer of Viki Homemade Jewlry, Viki Ciesiul, told ABCNews.com Monday.
It is Ciesiul’s fourth year as a vendor at the Saturday Market, and says she has mixed reactions to Madison’s story.
“We [vendors] are trying to avoid too many types of street vendors who might bring the place down,” she said. “There are many ways she can participate and rules are there for a reason.”
Portland Parks Bureau spokesman Mark Ross said asking for donations in public is permitted. Asking for donations is “a form of free speech, protected under the First Amendment,” Ross told ABCNews.com.
Ross notes that rules are assigned and enforced by the Saturday Market administration once the space has been leased. He declined to comment on the incident between Madison and the security guard.
“Since the story aired, mistletoe orders mushroomed… even McKinzei Farms, one of the biggest selling Christmas tree farms in the area, made a $1,000 donation to Madison’s braces,” said Root’s father.
Root had her braces fitted for the first time Monday.