Note: Frequently Asked Questions About A.A. are available here.
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for the Westside Central Office. Click on the desired question below to view the answer or click here to view all of the questions and answers.
According to the A.A. General Service Office (GSO) Guidelines for Central or Intergroup Offices (http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/mg-02_centralorinter.pdf), “A central office (or intergroup) is an A.A. service office that involves partnership among groups in a community—just as A.A. groups themselves are partnerships of individuals. A central office is established to carry out certain functions common to all the groups—functions which are best handled by a centralized office—and it is usually maintained, supervised, and supported by these groups in their general interest. It exists to aid the groups in their common purpose of carrying the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
2. Is there a difference between a Central Office and an Intergroup?
Other than the name, a Central Office and an Intergroup are one in the same.
3. Does the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area already have an Intergroup?
4. Why does the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area need additional Central/Intergroup Offices?
Until recently, a single Intergroup served the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. This is a large geographical area with Troutdale to the East, Hillsboro to the West, St. Helens to the North and Clackamas to the South. Clearly, groups that are located on the edges of this boundary require a greater distance to travel to the current Intergroup. Thus, some groups are physically isolated from the single Intergroup.
Intergroup Service Committees, such as Public Information (PI), Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC), Corrections, Cooperation with Treatment Facilities (CTF), etc. are stretched thinly when they need to cover a vast geographical area such as the Portland metropolitan area. These Service Committees are the vital link between A.A. and those in the community seeking information about A.A. In other words, Service Committees reach alcoholics that may normally not be reached by an A.A. group. If we can provide additional services in our geographical area, we will ease the burden on our existing Intergroup Service Committees and increase our effectiveness in reaching those alcoholics that normally would not be reached.
Our Twelfth Step states: “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Additional Central/Intergroup Offices provide additional opportunities for A.A. members to practice our principles and carry the message to the alcoholic that still suffers. This type of 12th Step Work includes volunteering at the Central Office, answering 12th step calls on the A.A. Hotline, taking part in a Service Committee, and participating in a Central/Intergroup Office Business Meeting as an Intergroup/Central Office Representative.
5. Is it common to have more than one Central/Intergroup Office in a metropolitan area?
Yes. Perusing the current list of A.A. Central Offices, Intergroups, and Answering Services for the United States and Canada (available at http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/f-25_ctraloffices_intergroup_uscanada.pdf) reveals several metropolitan areas with multiple Central/Intergroup Offices. The metropolitan area closest to Portland that has more than one Central/Intergroup Office is Seattle, WA with the Greater Seattle Intergroup (located in Downtown Seattle) and the Eastside Intergroup (located in Bellevue).
6. What is the Westside Central Office?
The Westside Central Office is a Central/Intergroup Office that serves A.A. Groups and Members in the Western Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Our primary purpose is to help our A.A. Groups and Members carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
7. How did the Westside Central Office come about?
The Westside Central Office is a result of the fruitful growth of our fellowship over the last 15-20 years. Around the early-to mid 1990s, some A.A. members in the Hillsboro area realized that there was a need for a Central/Intergroup Office closer to the groups on their side of town. At times, the need for A.A. Services on their side of town went unfulfilled and some groups began to feel isolated from the Portland A.A. Community. Some members then proposed opening up an Intergroup in Hillsboro that would be run entirely by volunteers and offer evening and weekend office hours. Although the effort did not get off the ground 15 years ago, the wheels for additional Central/Intergroup offices were set in motion.
In January 2009, the idea was revisited, not just by our friends in the Hillsboro area, but by interested members all over the Portland metropolitan area. Some reasons for revisiting the prospect of an additional Central/Intergroup Office include:
- Providing improved services to groups that are located on the edges of our geographical area as well as to groups that are not currently served by an Intergroup.
- Helping the existing Intergroup Service Committees with their 12th Step Work.
- Offering more opportunities for 12th Step Work to our A.A. members.
- Providing conveniently located offices that sell A.A. Conference approved (and A.A. Grapevine) literature and offer evening and weekend hours.
An Exploratory Committee was founded to see if there is a need and support for additional Central/Intergroup Offices. The committee surveyed the Portland metropolitan area and received 91 responses from members and groups. The results were analyzed in January 2010 and the committee concluded that there is a need and a willingness to support one additional Central/Intergroup Office on the Westside of town.
A Formation Committee was then created and a name for the entity, The Westside Central Office (WCO), was adopted. The Formation Committee’s efforts included reaching out to groups and asking for their support, registering with the state of Oregon as a non-profit corporation, and creating a website. In October 2011, the Formation Committee completed their task when they established WCO’s telephone service.
Having a telephone service allowed WCO to provide an A.A. Hotline and to register with the General Service Office (GSO) as a virtual Central Office. As a virtual Central Office, WCO began selling A.A. literature and providing outreach to alcoholics through its service committees. WCO would remain a virtual Central Office until March of 2014 when it leased its first physical office space.
8. What are the geographical boundaries that you will serve?
The Westside Central Office will focus its services on “Portland metropolitan area” Groups that are located west of the Willamette River. From an A.A. Area 58/District point of view, this region includes District 9, District 10, District 18, District 23, District 31, District 36, and District 37. A map of these Districts is available at http://www.aa-oregon.org/portland-districts/ and http://www.aa-oregon.org/find-meetings/.
9. Where is your office located?
We lease an office at 10220 SW Park Way, Portland, OR 97225 (located in Cedar Hills Shopping Center). We are currently open to the public on Saturdays from 12noon to 4pm temporarily closed during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. You may also stop by during our business meeting.
10. How can we get in touch with Westside Central Office?
You can contact the Westside Central Office through our website at www.westsidecentraloffice.com, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 503-684-0415, or by visiting one of our business meetings, held the first Monday of each month, from 7pm-8pm, at 10220 SW Park Way, Portland, OR 97225 (located in Cedar Hills Shopping Center). You can also contact us through U.S. Mail at Westside Central Office, P.O. Box 19911, Portland, OR 97280-0911.
11. What services do you offer?
We currently provide an A.A. Hotline, meeting directories, monthly newsletter, service committees, and A.A. Conference approved literature for sale. We also offer several opportunities for service to members of our A.A. Community. A list of these service positions is available under the “Get Involved” section of our website, https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com. The direct link is https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com/get-involved-2.
12. What products do you sell?
No. A.A. Tradition Six states, “An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.” In keeping with Tradition Six, we will not sell items produced by enterprises outside of Alcoholics Anonymous. We will only sell items produced by Alcoholics Anonymous such as A.A. Grapevine and A.A. Conference approved literature.
14. Are you affiliated with the Portland Area Intergroup?
15. Why are you not affiliated with the Portland Area Intergroup?
It is not uncommon for a metropolitan area to have more than one Central/Intergroup Office. Central Offices are created when there is a need as well as support by a number of A.A. groups. We are simply responding to the need voiced by these groups.
16. Wouldn’t your energies be better spent helping the Portland Area Intergroup?
Actually this effort is helping the Portland Area Intergroup. Prior to creating our Formation Committee, some of the members of the Exploratory Committee decided to shift their energies toward helping the existing Intergroup. At the end of the day, it’s our hope to see our entire A.A. Community improve its effectiveness in reaching the still suffering alcoholic.
We believe our effort will only make the Portland Area Intergroup stronger. As we visit groups to discuss the Westside Central Office, we’re talking to some groups that are not currently supporting any Central/Intergroup Office. After talking to these groups, some of them do end up supporting the Portland Area Intergroup.
An additional Central/Intergroup Office also helps ease the burden on the existing Intergroup Service Committees with their 12th Step Work. This helps Portland Area Intergroup carry the A.A. message and it helps our entire A.A. Community carry the A.A. message to those who want it.
17. Can our A.A. Group choose which Central/Intergroup Office to support?
Yes. In fact, if your group currently supports the Portland Area Intergroup and is happy with the Portland Area Intergroup, by all means continue to support them. A.A. Tradition Four states that “each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.” Therefore, each group can choose to support the Westside Central Office, the Portland Area Intergroup, both, or none of the above.
18. How can my A.A. Group get involved with the Westside Central Office?
The best way for an A.A. Group to get involved with the Westside Central Office is to elect a home group member into the position of Central Office Representative (“CO Rep”). The CO Rep is the liaison between a group and the Westside Central Office. CO Reps attend the Westside Central Office monthly business meeting, vote their group’s conscience on Central Office Business matters, and share information between the group, the Westside Central Office, and other participating groups.
If your group is not ready to elect a CO Rep, then consider registering your group anyway. You can provide us with a group contact person, known as a “Mail Contact”, and indicate if your group would like to be listed in any future meeting schedules that the Westside Central Office may produce.
To register your group, fill out a group registration form available through the “Group Registration Form” link on our website, https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com. You can return the form to us by mail or at a Westside Central Office business meeting.
19. How can I get involved with the Westside Central Office?
The best way to get involved is to attend our monthly business meeting to find out how you can be of service. For a list of current service positions, visit our website (www.westsidecentraloffice.com), click on the “Get Involved” link. The direct link is https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com/get-involved-2.
20. When and where do you hold your business meeting?
We hold our business meeting on the first Monday of the month (except in September), 7pm-8pm, at our office; 10220 SW Park Way, Portland, OR 97225 (located in Cedar Hills Shopping Center). In September, the business meeting is held on the third Monday of the month, 7pm-8pm, at our office. A map of our office is available at our website, https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com, by clicking on the “Directions” link. The direct link is https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com/map.
21. Why did you choose Beaverton for your location?
Our website had an office location survey that asked participants where they would like us to locate the Westside Central Office. We received 133 votes. Beaverton received 47 votes, West Portland area received 42, Tigard had 31, and Hillsboro had 13.
On December 2, 2017, we moved our office to nearby Cedar Hills Shopping Center (10220 SW Park Way Portland, OR 97220).
22. Can my A.A. Group make a contribution to the Westside Central Office?
Yes, an A.A. Group can make a contribution to the Westside Central Office. To make a contribution, complete a contribution form and return it to us along with a check or money order payable to Westside Central Office. Contribution forms are available from our website, https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com, by clicking on the “Contribution Form” link.
23. Can I make a contribution to the Westside Central Office?
If you are a member of A.A., then yes, you can make a contribution to the Westside Central Office. We offer two methods for making a contribution. The first method is by clicking on the Donate button on our website, https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com. Alternatively, you may mail us a contribution. To mail your contribution, complete a contribution form and return it to us along with check or money order payable to Westside Central Office. Contribution forms are available from our website, https://www.westsidecentraloffice.com, by clicking on the “Contribution Form” link.
24. Can non-A.A. members make a contribution to the Westside Central Office?
No. A.A. Tradition Seven states that “Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” Therefore, we must decline contributions by non-A.A. members and enterprises.
25. Is the Westside Central Office a non-profit organization?
Yes, the Westside Central Office is a non-profit corporation registered as Westside Central Office, Inc. with the state of Oregon. Moreover, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies Westside Central Office as a public charity under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501(c)(3). Our Federal Tax ID is 27-3639288.
26. Is my contribution to the Westside Central Office tax deductible?
The Westside Central Office is classified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a public charity under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501(c)(3). Our Federal Tax ID is 27-3639288. All or part of your contribution may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please check with your tax advisor.