We rolled out our new kumbucha truck, Portland Punch, last week by the beerfest. We rented space from one of those big lots by PSU; set-up, fed people, took in the scene, cheered on the Beerfest from a distance. Then, 20 minutes after we opened, up rolled three members of Construction Enforcement of Multnomah County. We needed to have a special-event license to be working at PSU. Here's a ticket, here's a court date.

We didn't know. No problem. We wanted to get ahead of it next time, and who better to answer our questions than county employees themselves? When exactly do we need one of these licenses? we asked them. What constitutes a "special event"? How much is this fine, anyway?

No answers. It's "not their job" to tell us. We called the following Monday to ask the same questions during business hours. We tried the county web site. No answers.

We'll pay the ticket. We'll make the court appearance. But we can't help feeling like we just got a speeding ticket on a road with no speed limit signs. Isn't it better for us and for Portland if small business owners have access to the right information before we get fined, instead of after?