Published January 28, 2022
Over the last 18 months, we’ve ticked off quite a few items on our to-do list at the airport. Expanding Concourse E: Check. Opening Concourse B and a Rental Car Center? Done! In 2022, we’re embarking on the really big stuff: Giving the main terminal a striking new roof.
Last year, we prepared to safely raise the roof by closing the Oregon Market and installing temporary walls and detours. Here's the good news about 2022: With the exception of a few late-night detours, and a few noisy months in the spring, you won’t encounter new disruptions. No more walking into PDX only to feel like you've returned home for the holidays to find your parents have turned your bedroom into their home gym.
Take a 360 tour
The roof was designed and built in the Pacific Northwest with materials supplied by 40 Oregon and Washington landowners, mills, and fabricators. In fact, some of the wood on the roof was harvested to reduce the impact of wildfires in the region.
(Photo credit: Port of Portland/Larry Curran)
Here's what this year will look like for PDX (and you!)
For the past year, we've built a nine-acre roof on a prefabrication lot to the northwest of the airport. The construction crews are now installing the last component—an intricate wood lattice, sourced from sustainable Northwest forests, that will eventually cover the interior ceiling.
What you'll see: If you drive along Marine Boulevard, you can glimpse the roof's dramatic swoops in the prefab lot.
Behind all those partitions in the pre-security area, construction crews have been hollowing out the back half of the main terminal. Starting in March, the exterior structure is also coming down to create a more open, spacious footprint. It may get noisy for a few months!
What you'll see: Not much, in fact. But when you’re in the ticket lobby and going through security, you may hear and feel what’s happening on the other side of those partitions. We're strategizing ways to counteract the sound, including free earplugs at the front doors and a sensory room in Concourse D.
Next, we’re erecting 34 giant steel Y-shaped columns to hold up the roof. Right now, construction crews are driving steel pilings deep into the ground to anchor these columns. Over the course of a few months, we’ll erect the Y columns one by one.
What you'll see: You probably won't notice—most are going up overnight behind the temporary walls. Late-night travelers will occasionally have to walk a few yards around an installation site.
Once the biggest section of the wood roof is fully assembled, the project team will break it back down into 20 "cassettes". During the summer and fall, Hoffman-Skanska and Mammoet will maneuver each cassette into place over the existing roof. It will take several days to place each cassette, and the work will happen overnight — depending on the section we’re placing, we may guide late-night travelers around a short detour.
What you'll see: Unless you're flying into PDX on a late-night flight, or camped out on Marine Drive at 2 a.m., you won't see much. If you walk to the ends of Concourse C or Concourse D and look back toward the main terminal, you'll catch a glimpse of the airport's new roofline.
In addition to the big projects, you’ll see a host of new amenities appear throughout the airport. A new play area in Concourse E. New art. New restaurants and cafes. (Lardo! Screen Door! Good Coffee!) You're almost guaranteed to encounter something new every time you visit the airport — and we're not talking barricades.