September 30th, 2009
Portland, Oregon, joins the ranks of the open cities, officially embracing open data and open source
Portland, Oregon, is now an open city.
Following in the footsteps of open cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and Vancouver, BC, Portland’s Mayor Sam Adams and the City Council today unanimously approved a resolution that directs the City of Portland to open data to outside developers and encourages adoption of open source solutions in technology procurement.
With the ratification of the Portland Economic Development strategy, the City officially recognized the value of the open source in Portland. Now, with the adoption of the open data and open source resolution, the City has prescribed specific objectives for the municipal government that will help Portland begin the transformation into a government that more willingly embraces open standards, transparency, and more collegial interaction with its open source community.
What does the resolution do? At its most basic, it’s designed to give open source and open data a seat at the table. The resolution strives to:
Mobilize and expand the regional technology community of software, hardware and service professionals by promoting open and transparent government, open data, and partnership opportunities between the public, private and non-profit sectors, academia and labor
To what end? Well, the City hopes to stimulate development and increase the City’s participation in the vibrant local open source community—as well as the broader open source community for which Portland has served as a de facto—yet rarely officially recognized—hub.
“It is a collaborative spirit the City is seeking to promote,” said the Mayor Sam Adams during today’s council meeting.
To achieve these ends, the resolution calls for the City to publish structured standardized data, adopt open standards, support and encourage the development of open source curricula in Portland schools, and consider open source solutions. (Need more details on the resolution? The entire text of the resolution can be found in the original post, “Mayor Sam Adams and the City of Portland to open source, open data, and transparency communities: Let’s make this official.”)
What if you don’t really care about the whole open source thing? Well, it’s still going to have an effect on you. Because opening data to the public brings with it the hopes the public will engage with the municipality to ensure more transparency and great efficiency for your municipal government.
“This [resolution] will increase efficiency in local government… democratize public data itself… and it will foster innovation among Portland’s world class software community,” said Skip Newberry with the Mayor’s Office in his testimony.
No matter which way you look at it, making the decision to be more open is a momentous move by the City. And one that should bode well for the open source community that calls the City of Portland home.
Now, the hard work begins. Both from the City’s perspective in terms of making this data accessible and from the perspective of those who would like to access that data.
But at the very least, the City is marching forward—and defining objectives. Here’s hoping that effort continues to gain momentum.
Well done, Portland. And congratulations on your new status as an open city. Once again, I’m swelling with pride at what you’ve been able to accomplish.
Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.