The apps contest craze has officially blazed into Portland, Ore.

Following in the trail of cities including Washington, D.C., and New York City, Portland has launched an open source design contest where innovators use data sets to create applications that address civic issues and benefit the greater Portland community. Developers of the best ideas and apps can win prizes totaling more than $10,000.

But even as a copycat of competitions such as D.C.'s Apps for Democracy and NYC BigApps, CivicApps for Greater Portland is slightly different from its forbears because CivicApps is one of the only competitions in the country offering data sets from inter-jurisdictional agencies including the city, county, regional and the transit authority, said Rick Nixon, program manager with the Portland Bureau of Technology Services.

As part of the city's Open Data Initiative (ODI), the 100 data sets released include information regarding crime, building permits, parks, transportation, liquor license applications and more.

"Releasing data sets from inter-jurisdictional agencies does two things," Nixon said. "It provides richer, more far-reaching examples of data and it eliminates the siloing between governments."

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Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer