Ok, we all know that Portlanders can be a weird bunch! So our obsession with the carpet at Portland’s PDX airport shouldn’t be a big surprise to many who know the citizens of our fair city. But for those not in the know, we just adore our airport carpet! Random, I know.
And with the advent of social media apps for our phones, PDX travelers have been popularizing this now-famous flooring into a cult-following of sorts– posting shots of our feet atop the carpet as we head out or return to town.
For many, a snapshot of their feet on the carpet signifies the beginning of a journey to parts unknown, a business trip, or even a visit elsewhere to see loved ones. Other photos capture the happy feeling of returning home. Regardless of the occasion, we enjoy commemorating the moment and sharing it with the world.
Here’s a little history on the carpet. The Port of Portland, operator of the Portland airport, had the existing iconic teal carpet laid down in 1987-88, replacing worn twenty-five year old carpet. The design is based on the view of the airport as seen by the air traffic controllers high up in their tower. In fact, it’s so distinct that no other airport has the same carpet pattern.
Sadly, the carpet has reached the end of its life, and after many patches throughout the airport, finally the time has come to replace it. In fact, tonight marks the beginning of the removal and installation of the new carpet. The work will be done overnight so as to affect as few travelers as possible and the Port of Portland expects the process to take almost a year to complete.
The new design can be seen online, and while interesting in its own right, is not one that Portlanders have bonded with, at least not via social media. According to the Port of Portland, the colors were chosen for their mood enhancing hues and the pattern has abstract lines reminiscent of travel, including the arc of the canopy over the PDX airport entrance.
Said Kama Simonds, spokesperson for the Port of Portland, “The swell of interest in the carpet began a little over a year ago and at first we were surprised by it. Eventually that swell turned into a tidal wave and we decided to embrace it. By our estimations, the carpet has been tread upon by over 300,000,000 feet.”
So revered is the Portland airport carpet that you can find socks, tee shirts, satchels and even beer bottles with the unique carpet pattern and color. Even the Timbers soccer team is getting into the PDX carpet spirit, offering pre-sales of a Timbers scarf with the famous carpet design and color. The Port of Portland has now come to realize that the carpet means a great deal to the many fans that have popularized it on their Instagram and Twitter feeds.
Soon the Port of Portland will be accepting proposals from people interested in securing a piece of history, albeit a big piece. They anticipate pulling up sections 1000 square yards, roughly the size of a quarter of a football field, if all goes smoothly. There are no guarantees when it comes to removing 28-year-old carpeting. Anyone interested in submitting a proposal for consideration should watch the Port of Portland website. Since a roll of carpet that size isn’t something you can toss in the back of your buddy’s pickup truck, the Port of Portland is requiring a deposit with your proposal, to ensure you have the means to remove it from the airport.
Let’s hope that soon PDX carpet lovers will be able to get their hands on a physical piece of history in the form of a small remnant. Maybe a framed carpet scrap will hang in every hipster’s living room. Is it possible that PDX carpet could even replace the Portland bridge art (which seems to be required décor for every Portlander as they move into town) to live on for another decade or two?