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Originally published December 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM | Page modified December 4, 2013 at 11:38 AM

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Oregon girl won’t give up on mistletoe enterprise

An 11-year-old Oregon girl was caught in a legal dilemma when she tried to sell mistletoe to pay for orthodontia. People nearby could beg, but she couldn’t sell without a permit.

The Associated Press

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Why not just get a permit? Or sell them under her dad's permit? They aren't... MORE
They even offered her a permit for free, so that she could sell mistletoe in the market... MORE
Why not require a permit to beg? Why not require a permit while soliciting donations? ... MORE


PORTLAND — An 11-year-old Lake Oswego, Ore., girl went into the holiday greenery business to help pay for her braces but then ran into a legal roadblock. After news stories, she got some orders and a big donation. Now she has the top row of her braces.

Madison Root cut and bagged mistletoe last week at her uncle’s farm in Newberg and took it to Portland’s arts and crafts bazaar, the Saturday Market, to sell at $4 a bag, The Oregonian reported.

She was doing OK, having sold seven bags in half an hour. Then a private security guard for the market told Madison and her father, Ashton Root, that the city code requires a sales permit.

Ashton Root said the guard told them that his daughter could beg for money, but she couldn’t sell the mistletoe or even give it away and ask for a donation. The father said there ought to be “some sort of exception.”

“We totally understand the rule,” Root said. “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.”

Once word of the sixth-grader’s effort got out, one man ordered 30 bags of mistletoe, and the owner of a Christmas-tree farm in Estacada, Ken Cook, donated $1,000 to the dental fund.

So, Madison Root went to the orthodontist on Monday.

On Dec. 14, she plans to return to the market with plenty of mistletoe for what she’s calling “The Great Kissoff.” The mistletoe may be sold or given away on a “donations accepted” basis, said her father. She said she plans to give a speech.

“I feel that I can make a statement and possibly make a difference,” she said. “The city laws are supporting begging and are against working.”

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