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Debt Reduction Program

​NOTE: Judgments for Restitution and Compensatory Fines are not eligible for reduction and are excluded from participation in this program.

The State Court Debt Reduction Program is a three prong program. The purpose of the program is to:

  1. Allow participants with limited resources an opportunity to work off one-third of their debt through the performance of work crew through their local county parole and probation office;
  2. Enter into a payment plan with the court where their debt resides to pay off one-third of their debt through scheduled monthly payments to the court; and
  3. Upon successful completion of the program, the court will write-off the remaining one-third of the participant’s outstanding debt.

NOTE: An individual who is physically unable to perform work crew due to disability, may request the court allow them to substitute community service in lieu of work crew. The participant must provide proof of disability.

​The State Court Debt Reduction Program is in effect for one year from the date of acceptance into the program. Participants, who have made a good faith effort to complete the program but need additional time, may request a one-time extension from the court for up to an additional 6 months.​

Participants must:

  • Have a minimum financial balance of $1500.00
  • Pay the court an initial $200 payment toward their debt;
  • Enter a payment plan to pay one-third of their outstanding  ebt;
  • Make payments as scheduled in the payment plan;
  • Contact Parole and Probation to set up work crew within 7 days of acceptance into the program.
  • Pay Parole and Probation a $40 participation fee when setting up work crew. (Upon successful completion, this amount will be credited toward the participant’s outstanding court balance.)
    • ​Work crew will be credited at $10.00 per hour.

The Court will:

  • Remove the debt from collections;
  • Write-off collection agency referral assessment fees;
  • Monitor compliance with the program;
  • Prepare, sign, and enter an order, upon successful completion of the program, to write-off the remaining one-third of the outstanding debt;
  • Review a one-time request for extension to see if a good faith effort has been made;
  • Allow or deny a one-time extension for up to an additional 6 months

Parole and Probation Work Crew Coordinator will:

  • Schedule work crew;
  • Report the hours worked by the participant to the court;
  • Report any non-compliance to the court;

Failure to successfully complete the program will result in the debt immediately being sent out for collection. 

Collection fees will be added to the participant’s outstanding balance.

If you are interested in the program, please contact the Columbia County Circuit Court for further information and see if you qualify for the program. The Circuit Court is located at 230 Strand Street, St Helens, Oregon 97051. 503-397-2327 ext 306

  1. Local court must make a reasonable effort to identify assets belonging to the debtor and determine if the debtor does not, and will not for the foreseeable future, own or have the right to own assets from which the local court could collect the entire debt.
  2. The debtor must submit a detailed financial statement and provide documentation which demonstrates the debtor’s liabilities exceed their assets and future earnings potential to such an extent that collection of the entire debt is unlikely.
  3. The Oregon Department of Revenue or a private collection agency has been unsuccessful in their attempt to collect the debt.
  4. The debtor’s assets are exempt from execution of garnishment, (i.e., Social Security, Disability, etc.)

Applicants must complete an Application and Declaration and provide proof of income and monthly bills (including rent and utilities) for the past two months. If they claim to be eligible for public assistance, they must provide proof of the amount received from all programs.

Court staff will review the forms for completeness and forward them to a judge or other court staff for approval or denial. The matter may set the matter for a hearing and they will appear before a judge or other court staff.​​