PDX and Its Iconic Carpet: Reunited (And It Feels So Good)

Published February 14, 2022


We love that you love our old carpet.

Truth be told, we love it, too. More than a few of us have the shoe selfies to prove it. We can spot the carpet’s distinctive pattern from across the room, whether it's on your socks, your keychain, or your T-shirt.

And so, we have a little good news: When the new main terminal opens in 2024, the old carpet is coming back to a few key spaces in the arrivals area.

A little PDX carpet history

When the main terminal opened in 1956, the original floor was brown terrazzo, later covered by a blue carpet patterned with the Port of Portland's logo. In 1988, PDX swapped that carpet out for the now-iconic one, designed by a local architecture firm.

After almost 30 years, though, the wool carpet—whose color varied from teal to green, depending on the manufacturer—was so threadbare that our maintenance crews used markers to color in the bare spots.

In 2015, Vince Granato, now head of PDX Next special projects, held a press conference announcing the airport was replacing the carpet. He was surprised to find a room filled with reporters. "I don't think any of us anticipated the response from the community," he says now, laughing.

The carpet’s absence, it seems, has only made our hearts fonder. You can find the carpet pattern on Moonstruck chocolate bars, Chasin' Tail Designs dog bandanas, The Athletic's PDX Airport Socks, and, if you shop vintage sneaker sites, Adidas shoes.

Here's where the old carpet will be

"We appreciate the fact that everybody in this community has that deep connection to PDX through that carpet," Vince says. That’s why we decided to bring it back. “I don’t feel like we should lose our history.”

When the expansive, light-filled main terminal opens in 2024, you'll find PDX's iconic carpet in the pre-security “meet and greet” areas outside the security exits, along with a few other surprise locations we’ll share along the way.

Sharron van der Meulen, partner and interior design lead at ZGF, says, "I always joke that if we didn't use the carpet and our name was associated with this terminal project, we'd probably be run out of the city."

Of course, the current carpet will remain in the concourses. And the areas of the main terminal that visitors travel through will have gray terrazzo floors—a smoother surface that’s easier for wheelchairs, assistive devices, and roller bags to navigate.

Can’t wait for 2024?

You can still find the old carpet in one place: The "secret listening room" at the Tender Loving Empire store in Concourse E, near Gate E5. It’s only a secret if you don’t know about it — everyone is welcome! Just head to the back of the store.

And tag us (@pdxairport) when you post your shoe selfie.