Sent to RHU from Hiedi:
KOMO News, PORTLAND, Ore.
You can tell right away that Madison Root has a shrewd business sense.
She launched a small business on Saturday morning with all the right ingredients for success.
Portland Saturday Market -- where the crowds are.
Mistletoe -- perfect for Christmas.
Hand-wrapped and tied with a red bow.
Madison, 11, even cut and chopped the mistletoe herself from her uncle's farm in Newberg.
She's hoping to raise money to chip in for her braces. The dentist says they'll cost $4,800.
"I felt like I could help my dad with the money," she said.
Madison and her dad bagged up the mistletoe and started selling them next to the Skidmore Fountain in Downtown Portland on Saturday morning.
That's also where the Portland Saturday Market holds its weekly venue.
A private security guard asked Madison to stop selling because city ordinance bans commerce like that without proper approval.
"I wouldn't think I'd have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place," said Madison.
And she's right -- to a point.
In fact, we saw people protesting, hold signs, playing music, and begging all over the area on Sunday morning as well.
The Saturday Market is incredibly diverse.
You can buy whistles, order crepes and sign a marijuana petition all without walking more than ten steps.
But you can't open a business without going through the market's formal application process. The market sets rules for vendors which Madison agrees make sense.
Begging is different.
That's a form of free speech, protected under the First Amendment, explains Mark Ross, spokesman for the Portland Parks Bureau, which manages the city park and rents it to the Saturday Market.
The guard, hired by the market from a private security firm, told Madison she could sell her products on city sidewalk outside the park's boundaries or simply ask people for donations for her braces.
"I don't want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg," said Madison.
"It's crazy. People can get money for pot. But I can't get money for braces. I'm working for this! They're just sitting down on their butts all day asking for pot."
A vendor selling ceramic bowls told KATU News she wishes the rules made an exception for children.
"They should have a caveat for children trying to create options for commerce, especially this time of year," said Sharon Steen, co-owner of Perfect Bowls. "We encourage it. We want them to grow up and be entrepreneurs."
After Madison's story appeared on KATU News at 5:00 pm on Sunday, a viewer already called to order 30 bags of mistletoe.
"I want to do something for a good cause," said Madison. "I don't want to beg."
Here's an Update from KATU:
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The saga of the 11-year-old entrepreneur and her box of mistletoe prompted the mayor to say he'll review city laws and the Saturday Market to invite the little girl back.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales confirmed Tuesday morning he met with Commissioner Amanda Fritz to discuss why city code would ban a child from selling mistletoe from a public park while allowing begging, pan-handling, singing, and protesting.
A spokesman for Mayor Hales said he plans to contact the staff at Portland's Saturday Market to better understand what happened and whether procedures could be tweaked to allow kids to sell.
Late Tuesday afternoon, an executive from Portland's Saturday Market also contacted KATU with an invitation: Madison Root, 11, can come back, apply to be a full member, sell her mistletoe, and she won't need to pay the standard fee for vendors.
Young entrepreneur Madison thought it would be a success if she sold a couple dozen bags of her mistletoe on a chilly Saturday morning next to the Skidmore Fountain.
A few days later, she suddenly has far too many orders to handle coming in from all over the United States.
"There was never enough mistletoe for this," said her dad, Ashton Root, who helped his daughter collect and bag the mistletoe from oak trees growing on his brother's farm in Newberg.
Madison's saga started on Saturday morning when she was banned from selling the mistletoe she collected in downtown Portland because city code forbids unauthorized sales activity in public parks, which is where vendors hold the weekly Saturday Market.
KATU News aired a story about the 11-year-old on Sunday night after her dad called its newsroom.
By Monday, KATU viewers had placed hundreds of orders and a local entrepreneur even donated $1,000 in seed money to help Madison grow her business.
Meanwhile, officials in City Hall were silent, refusing to return phone calls or speak on camera about the city code that appeared to encourage begging rather than selling.
By Tuesday, television and radio stations across the country aired KATU's report for their own local viewers.
National television networks and news websites also picked up the report of the little girl from Oregon who was told she's allowed to beg, but not sell, including FOX News and The Washington Times.
People from all over the country have been contacting KATU's newsroom trying to reach Madison Root to order mistletoe.
The newsroom has heard from CEOs, Army captains and people in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, Texas.
And those are only the people who happened to mention where they live.
"Never beg for anything - and never give up - why are we teaching our children the wrong thing?" wrote a woman named Constance in an email to KATU reporter Dan Cassuto.
Some people aren't pleased.
"I find it quite offensive," wrote another viewer, upset with Madison's message that laws should encourage working, not begging.
The legal issue is somewhat complicated.
Portland City Code 20.12.020 outlaws soliciting or conducting business from city parks without proper permits or permissions. This includes giving away a product with the "intent or expectation" of receiving money.
Begging and protesting are allowed, says a spokesman for the Portland Parks Bureau, because those are activities considered free speech and protected by the First Amendment.
The Portland City Attorney did not return repeated phone calls requesting an official position on the