Put a bird on it? So 2011! Lately, Portlanders can’t wait to put a rug on it — specifically, the quirky turquoise carpet at Portland International Airport (PDX). The whimsical PDX carpet pattern evoked the airport’s intersecting north-south runways. No longer underfoot, it’s popped up on everything from socks to cycling jerseys, not to mention in thousands of selfies.
A star is born
This unlikely trend took off in 2013, when Port of Portland officials announced plans to tear out the 25-year-old carpet in favor of a modern look. Many PDX patrons took to social media to show their support, posting nostalgic carpet photos with each arrival and departure. The @PDXCarpet Instagram account, which describes the carpet as “outdated, unfashionable, and absolutely charming,” boasts more than 23,000 followers. The carpet-selfie trend continues; the “#pdxcarpet” hashtag features more than 95,000 photos starring the airport flooring, old and new. Even The Carpet at Portland Airport on Facebook attracted around 14,000 fans.
“I think it’s amazing that so many people can share something as simple as liking a carpet pattern,” says Ceara Chewning, the graduate student who manages the Facebook page.
People’s love for PDX goes way beyond the carpet. Travel + Leisure readers have rated it the country’s best airport for four years running. And locals and visitors alike appreciate the free Wi-Fi, no-markup local food and shopping and easy light-rail connection to downtown.
Own a piece of the carpet
Scoop up your own PDX souvenir at the airport’s Made in Oregon locations, which keeps shelves stocked with carpet-inspired T-shirts, socks, coffee mugs and aluminum bottles. Already back home? Far-flung fans can stock up on shirts, pillows, posters and more at the PDX Carpet online store.
“It seems silly to a lot of people,” says Chewning, “But the symbolism is something important, and I think anything that creates a community is important.”
Join the carpet community with a few of our favorite pieces:
These hand-painted and fully adjustable Belle helmets ensure that your head is always cleared for takeoff.
Inspired by neon hues viewed through airport X-ray machines, these hot pink numbers put boring socks on your no-fly list.