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Filing bankruptcy in Oregon is a serious decision. Having as much information as possible can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is right for you. In this guide to filing bankruptcy in Oregon, we cover several bankruptcy topics that are important to consider before filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case. We can also help you locate a bankruptcy lawyer near you who can provide additional information about bankruptcy cases. Keep reading to learn more about:

  • Means Testing in Oregon — How Does the Means Test Impact My Bankruptcy Case?
  • Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions
  • Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Oregon
  • Oregon Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses
  • Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees for Oregon
  • Alternatives to Filing Bankruptcy in Oregon

Oregon Bankruptcy Means Test

How Does the Means Test Impact My Bankruptcy Case? Means Testing in Oregon involves calculating your current monthly income (CMI) and annual median income to determine if you meet the income requirements for Chapter 7. The Means Test also calculates a person’s disposable income, which is a factor in a Chapter 13 plan payment or could result in being eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge, even though your median income is too high. 

Calculating Current Monthly Income for the Oregon Means Test

Your current monthly income is the average household income for the six months before filing for bankruptcy relief. To determine your CMI, add all income received during the past six months, except for income from the Social Security Administration (Social Security retirement and Social Security disability income). Divide the total by six, and that is your current monthly income for the Means Test. Feel free to use our average income calculator below to estimate your income

Income for CMI includes, but is not limited to:

  • Salaries, wages, bonuses, overtime pay, and commissions
  • Net income from businesses and rental properties
  • Retirement, pension, and annuity income
  • Private disability insurance benefits
  • Workers’ comp and unemployment benefits
  • Child support and alimony payments
  • Dividends, interest, and royalty payments
  • Money contributed to household income by a non-filing spouse, domestic partner, family member, roommate, etc.

Now, you are able to plug those numbers into the Oregon Chapter 7 Means Test Calculator below to estimate whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You are also able to do it through calculating your annual median income using the table information below.

Calculating Annual Median Income for Oregon Means Testing

Annual median income equals your CMI multiplied by 12. Therefore, if your CMI is $4,000, your annual median income is $48,000. Median income is a significant factor in a bankruptcy case. If your median income is more than the Oregon median income for a household of the same size, you may not qualify for a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7. You need to complete the second part of the Means Test to be sure. Also, if you are filing a Chapter 13 case, the proposed plan must be calculated based on a five-year plan.

The figures for median income are adjusted every few months, so you must use the current figures when completing the Means Test. The current Oregon median income figures are:

# of PeopleAnnual Income

Calculating Disposable Income

Disposable income is important for two reasons.

  1. In a Chapter 7 case, you can qualify for a bankruptcy discharge if your disposable income is below a certain amount, even if your median income is above the Oregon median income. Disposable income is included in a Chapter 13 plan payment. Therefore, you want your disposable income to be as low as possible in both cases.
  2. Disposable income equals your CMI less required payroll deductions and allowing living expenses. Some living expenses are based on national standards and the people in your household. If you claim an amount that exceeds the national standards, you must justify the expense and provide proof of payment. National standards are applied to items, including food, clothing, household items, personal care items, healthcare expenses, and transportation costs.

Other allowed monthly expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Payroll tax deductions and other mandatory deductions for retirement, uniforms, and union dues
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Car loan payments
  • Childcare costs
  • Disability and term life insurance premiums
  • Utilities
  • Some charitable contributions
  • Court-ordered child support and alimony payments

Expenses for non-essentials and luxury items are generally not permitted in the disposable income calculation. Try our free Chapter 7 Means Test Calculator which is also available above to esteimate if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions

In addition to the Means Test, you also want to consider the bankruptcy exemptions applicable in your case. Bankruptcy exemptions are the laws that protect the equity in your property during a bankruptcy case. Without bankruptcy exemptions, your property could be used to repay your debts. In a Chapter 7 case, property with non-exempt equity can be liquidated by the Chapter 7 trustee and used to pay unsecured debts. In a Chapter 13 case, the non-exempt equity in property increases the amount of the Chapter 13 plan payment.

We have two articles that explain how bankruptcy exemptions work in greater detail. One article discusses cash exemptions, and the other article discusses homestead exemptions.

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions vs. Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions

Oregon has enacted state bankruptcy exemptions. If you have lived in Oregon for 730 days or longer before filing for bankruptcy relief, you may use the Oregon bankruptcy exemptions. However, debtors may also choose to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions in 11 U.S.C. §562.

Most of the bankruptcy exemptions for Oregon are found in Oregon Revised Statutes Procedure in Civil Proceedings §18.345. The Oregon homestead exemption is in §18.395 and §18.402. The amounts and exemptions are subject to change, so you always want to confirm the exemptions with a bankruptcy lawyer or by researching current changes to the code. 

In some cases, the amount of equity protected in certain assets may be higher under Oregon bankruptcy exemptions compared to federal bankruptcy exemptions. However, that is not always the case. Therefore, a debtor must compare the bankruptcy exemptions allowed under each law and the amounts of those exemptions to determine which set of bankruptcy exemptions provide better protection of property in bankruptcy. When you hire a bankruptcy lawyer, your lawyer performs the analysis for you.

Bankruptcy exemptions protect the equity in a wide variety of assets, including but not limited to:

  • A person’s home;
  • Motor vehicles;
  • Clothing, jewelry, and personal property;
  • Retirement and pension accounts;
  • Household goods and furnishings;
  • Business equipment;
  • Guns and firearms;
  • Spousal support and child support;
  • Government benefits and public aid; 
  • Unmatured life insurance; and many other items.

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Oregon

Deciding between Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can be a complicated decision. You need to consider the Means Test and the protection of assets. After that, you need to consider other factors to decide if it is better to file a Chapter 7 or 13.

Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Oregon

Filing Chapter 7 in Oregon is limited to businesses that are closing and consumers who meet the income requirements for a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7. The Chapter 7 process is referred to as a “straight” or “liquidation” bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 trustee is assigned to the bankruptcy case to administer the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy estate includes all the debtor’s property and assets until the Chapter 7 trustee abandons the assets. 

The Chapter 7 trustee decides what to abandon based on the equity in the asset. If the property does not have sufficient equity to benefit the unsecured creditors, the trustee should abandon the property. Net equity is the fair market value of the item less the amount of any secured liens and allowed bankruptcy exemptions. In most Chapter 7 cases filed in Oregon, the debtors keep all their property. However, a careful analysis of the bankruptcy exemptions before filing Chapter 7 in Oregon is advised to determine if any property is in jeopardy of being sold by the Chapter 7 trustee.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases get rid of most unsecured debts, including medical bills, credit cards, and personal loans. However, most tax debts and student loans are not eligible for a discharge. Restitution, alimony, and child support are never dischargeable in bankruptcy. Our Chapter 7 Process Guide provides additional information about filing Chapter 7 in Oregon.

Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Oregon

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is a way to restructure your debts with the help of the bankruptcy court. Debtors in Chapter 13 propose a repayment plan. A Chapter 13 plan typically includes debts such as:

  • Past due mortgage payments (mortgage arrearage), which can save a home from foreclosure;
  • Car loan payments, which could result in lower monthly payments by stretching out the car loan another 60 months or decreasing the secured lien amount;
  • Old tax debt, alimony, child support, and other debts that must be paid in full;
  • Attorneys’ fees (some attorneys include a portion of their fees in the Chapter 13 plan); and,
  • Unsecured debts, although most Chapter 13 plans do not pay these debts in full. Unsecured creditors typically receive a small portion of what is owed on the account. The remaining balances are discharged when the debtor completes the Chapter 13 case.

Chapter 13 plan payments may increase if the debtor has non-exempt equity in property. Also, disposable income from the Means Test must be included in the Chapter 13 plan payment to pay unsecured creditors.A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can help you protect your property, avoid foreclosures and repossessions, and reduce the amount you owe to unsecured creditors. For additional information about Chapter 13 in Oregon, read our Chapter 13 Guide. You can also use our free Chapter 13 calculator to estimate your Chapter 13 plan payment below

Oregon Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses

Individuals who file for bankruptcy relief are required to complete two bankruptcy courses as part of the bankruptcy process. The first course is a Credit Counseling Course. The credit counseling agency provides information about bankruptcy and debt relief options. You also create a budget to determine if bankruptcy is right for you. The course must be completed within 180 days before filing your bankruptcy case.

The second bankruptcy course is a Debtor Education Course designed to give you the knowledge and tools you need to manage your finances after bankruptcy. The course must be completed after you file your bankruptcy case. If you do not complete a Debtor Education Course and file a certificate of completion with the bankruptcy court, you will not receive a bankruptcy discharge. 

Both bankruptcy courses can be completed online for a small fee. The United States Trustee’s Office must approve the company you use. A list of approved credit counseling and debtor education providers can be accessed on the UST’s website. 

Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees for Oregon

Oregon has only one bankruptcy district. The Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon is located at 1050 SW 6th Avenue in Portland, OR. There is a second location in Eugene, Oregon, at 405 East 8th Avenue, but that location is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Individuals should contact the Portland location by calling (503) 326-1500 to determine when the Eugene location will reopen. 

The Oregon bankruptcy court provides helpful information for debtors on its website. The court also provides information regarding the local rules and local bankruptcy forms used for bankruptcy cases filed in Oregon. Several bankruptcy trustees handle bankruptcy cases filed in the District of Oregon. Chapter 7 trustees and Chapter 13 trustees are private individuals who are supervised by the United States Trustee. Currently, two Chapter 13 trustees and six Chapter 7 trustees serve in Oregon bankruptcy cases, which can be found in the table below.

Oregon Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees

Candace E. Amborn(541) 858-9591
Rodolfo A. Camacho(503) 244-4810
Kenneth S. Eiler(503) 292-6020
Jeanne E. Huffman(541) 612-6765
Amy E. Mitchell(503) 675-9955
Vanesa Pancic(503) 356-0803

Oregon Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustees

Wayne R. Godare(503) 972-6300
Naliko K. Markel(541) 343-1556

Alternatives to Filing Bankruptcy in Oregon

There are several ways to get out of debt without filing bankruptcy. You may want to consider debt settlement or debt consolidation. Each debt relief option has pros and cons. Ascend has developed a data driven method of debt payoff that we call the Savvy Method. Our method utilizes the best elements of other debt-relief options to create a Savvy Debt Payoff Planner that is easy to use and effective in helping you to pay off your debts without bankruptcy. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that your creditors are not required to work with you outside of the bankruptcy system. Also, if you do not have the money to pay your debts or you are considering using your retirement or home equity to pay debts, bankruptcy might be a better option.

Do You Need More Information About Bankruptcy in Oregon?

If you need additional information, please contact Ascend at 833-272-3631 to speak with a representative. We can also help you locate a bankruptcy attorney in your area who can provide additional information about your bankruptcy options.

Post Author: Ben Tejes

Ben Tejes is a co-founder and CEO of Ascend Finance. Before Ascend, Ben held various executive roles at personal finance companies. Ben specializes in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Debt Settlement, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and debt payoff methods. In his free time, Ben enjoys spending time going on adventures with his wife and three young daughters.

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