The law you're referring to here is ORCP 69 B. I reproduce it in full here:
B(1) For the purposes of avoiding a default, a party may provide written notice of intent to file an appearance to a plaintiff, counterclaimant, or cross-claimant.
B(2) If the party against whom an order of default is sought has filed an appearance in the action, or has provided written notice of intent to file an appearance, then notice of the intent to apply for an order of default must be filed and served at least 10 days, unless shortened by the court, prior to applying for the order of default. The notice of intent to apply for an order of default must be in the form prescribed by Uniform Trial Court Rule 2.010 and must be filed with the court and served on the party against whom an order of default is sought.
So you don't need a lawyer to do this, but you do want to be sure that you've done it right. It also bears mention that debt collectors are frequently more dishonest and bullying against private persons than against attorneys. Your legal rights aren't reduced without an attorney, but your ability to avail yourself of those rights is certainly diminished.
I have a lot of experience in negotiating these cases. In my experience, debt collectors always want that statement of financial affairs before they're willing to consider a settlement. There's really no good reason not to give it to them, assuming there's no defense to the case; if they win, then they can order you to appear for a judgment creditor examination, and get the same information that way.
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Yes, you can send them a written correspondence stating that you intend to appear in this case, and they should give you 10 day notice pursuant to ORCP 69.
If you are in communications/negotiations with them then I am sure they will give you time to keep talking. If, however, communications stop, then keep in mind that the creditor will simply give you the 10 day notice and then proceed through the courts.
I agree with my colleagues that you can send the letter yourself, you do not need an attorney to do so. The rules applying to this situation do not give more credence to a lawyer's letter than a non-lawyer.