Many prospective bankruptcy filers in Oregon are understandably concerned about the privacy of their filing. At least once or twice a year someone chooses to come in for a consultation with our firm because we have offices in four different cities. I guess the thought is I can meet these guys in Portland where I live, but they can file my bankruptcy in Salem where no one knows me. We can’t.
The good news though is it really doesn’t matter where we file because no one that matters is really going to find out. Filings are posted in the paper, but you really need to ask yourself, how much time do you spend poring over bankruptcy filings? The answer is that you haven’t and that you probably wouldn’t know where to look. In Portland, like most cities, the bankruptcy court doesn’t pay for bankruptcy filing posting in a major paper, like the Oregonian or even the Willamette Week. Filings are posted in the Portland Business Journal which has a circulation of about twelve and doesn’t have an online classified section. What about online?
In both Oregon and Washington, bankruptcy filings can be found online, but only if you have an account with the court’s search system and pay the eight cents per page for downloads.
Granted your bankruptcy filing will show up on your credit report for a period of time, though it will likely have only a fleeting impact on your actual credit score, but unless someone has a permissible purpose for obtaining a copy of your credit report, your secret is safe with Experian and Equifax. Frankly even the people who will have a permissible purpose for obtaining your credit report aren’t likely to read it. Your prospective car lender, doesn’t care about your history or your bankruptcy filing, he cares about your score.
The fact is bankruptcy lost its stigma a long time ago while being in debt has retained all of its negative connotations. I have been filing bankruptcies for almost fifteen years now and I have yet to have a single client come into our Portland or Salem, Oregon offices with a horror story about how the wrong people found out about their bankruptcy.