Put a bird on it? So 2011! These days, Portlanders can’t wait to put a rug on it — specifically, the now-disappeared quirky turquoise carpet at Portland International Airport (PDX). The whimsical pattern, which evoked the airport’s intersecting north-south runways, has popped up on everything from socks to cycling jerseys, not to mention in thousands of selfies.
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. After the remodeling earlier this year, many PDX patrons took to social media to show their support, posting nostalgic carpet photos with each arrival and departure. Today the @PDXCarpet Instagram account, which describes the carpet as “outdated, unfashionable, and absolutely charming,” boasts more than 21,000 followers, while the “#pdxcarpet” hashtag features more than 70,000 photos starring the airport’s shoe-trodden fibers. Similarly, The Carpet at Portland Airport on Facebook has attracted over 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 three years running, and locals and visitors alike appreciate the airport’s free Wi-Fi, no-markup local food and shopping and easy light rail connection to downtown.
Scoop up your own PDX souvenir at the airport’s Made in Oregon location, 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 the neon hues viewed through airport X-ray machines, these hot pink numbers put boring socks on your no-fly list.