A school across the street from Dorothy Lafortune’s house closed for safety reasons.

BIDDEFORD (AP) – A nearby school planned to remain closed on Tuesday, the third day in a row, as police said they were in no hurry to carry out the court-ordered eviction of Dorothy Lafortune from her longtime home.

“There’s no threat as long as she remains in the house. I don’t want to feel rushed just because somebody’s in defiance of an order to vacate,” Police Chief Roger Beaupre said.

“There are plans in place and at some point this is going to get resolved. The main thing is to get this resolved in a way that nobody gets hurt.”

Some neighbors have expressed frustration at the stalemate. So, too, have parents of children at St. James School, who were forced to make alternate plans for their children.

The school across the street from Lafortune’s home was closed for safety reasons, said Principal Patricia Berthiaume.

“Many of the parents would not have sent their children anyway,” Berthiaume said. “Whatever it takes and as long as it takes to keep the children safe, that’s what I’ll do.”

Lafortune has vowed to stay in the three-unit building on Graham Street and has at times threatened to meet a police eviction with force. A militia leader from Alabama last week vowed to travel to Maine to defend Lafortune, but later backed away from such a threat.

Lafortune has lived in the yellow home for nearly 30 years. Because she had not paid sewer and tax bills since 1994, the city sold the building at auction last year to Tim Q. Ly of Portland.

Lafortune, who could not be reached for comment Monday, has unsuccessfully fought the eviction in courts. After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene on her behalf, a writ of possession was served Wednesday, giving her 48 hours to vacate the property.

Lafortune and her supporters appear to be the only occupants of the building; the legal residents have been temporarily relocated, with city assistance.

AP-ES-11-17-03 1715EST



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