News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, April 24, 2014
Eviction carried out for Mill Pond Lane resident
Leighton “moving forward,” says friend

8 Mill Pond Lane now empty

The house at 8 Mill Pond Lane is now vacant after the eviction of Dorothy Leighton on April 18, 2014. The house and its possessions were secured by the town of Blue Hill.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Faith DeAmbrose

After years of legal, emotional and political maneuvering, the tenant at 8 Mill Pond Lane was evicted from the home she has lived in for decades. Dorothy Leighton was removed from the house by her social worker while the Hancock County sheriff parked at the end of the road. The eviction occurred at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 18, while the Blue Hill selectmen were convening their regular weekly meeting.

Leighton was evicted for non-payment of taxes. She had not paid taxes in close to three decades and the town foreclosed on the property in 2009. Court challenges—all the way to Maine’s Law Court—ultimately found for the town.

“It was handled as well as could be expected—very professionally—and Dorothy walked out with her head held high,” said Joe Perkins of Washington Hancock Community Agency who has been working with Leighton, the town and healthcare professionals for the last few years. “People will continue to work with her to find a more permanent situation,” added Perkins.

Leighton is currently living in a shelter for women and children, and according to friend Birgit Frind, the location is meant to be kept confidential. “She is unreachable for the moment, but is continuing to work on moving forward and making herself healthy,” said Frind, adding that she is working with Leighton to find a temporary foster home for her two “middle-aged, well behaved cats, JJ and Amin.” She said she expects the cats would need to be fostered for up to two months while Leighton seeks another place to live. “I hope that Dorothy will be in her own place within a month, but if someone could commit to housing the cats for two months, that would be ideal,” she added.

The shelter where Leighton is staying, said Frind, requires that she be self-sufficient and even provide her own food and said that she is “stepping up to the challenge, and trying to keep positive.”

According to police records, the town’s code enforcement officer was escorted to the house on April 19 by Deputy Scott Kane to secure it. Frind said the town will allow Leighton to store her belongings there until other arrangements can be made.

The town has made no decisions about what to do with the property in the short term, but according to Selectman John Bannister, it will ultimately go to public auction “at some point.” The property is secure as are Leighton’s belongings, said Bannister.

“It appears that this is the ending to a very long and sad situation,” continued Bannister. “[The selectmen] went out of our way to seek the best ending we could and feel sad that it had to come to this,” he said of the eviction, adding “We are hopeful that Dorothy will land on her feet and enjoy the rest of her life.”

Frind said she would also like to help Leighton get back on her feet and asked that anyone who would like to help could send a donation to Leighton at the 8 Mill Pond Lane address in Blue Hill, or contact Frind at 415-640-0410. She said the first order of business would be to get Leighton a phone so she had the ability to communicate with others. “Her mail will be held for her,” said Frind, adding that Leighton would also be grateful for any letters or cards that the community wanted to send to her. “Those things would brighten her day.”