Portland has a reputation for weirdness. It’s something we embrace – and want you to, as well. We even advertise it on our buildings.
And if you think our unofficial city motto is just meant to be cute, well….
Let’s just say it’s legit.
Nowhere is this more obvious than at PDX, our international airport. People are in love with the carpet there. In fact, it’s become a downright obsession for many folks. I’m not kidding. The PDX carpet has its own cult following. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.
When the carpet was installed in the late 80s, airport officials wanted to invoke the spirit of the Pacific Northwest in the color scheme (greens and blues), while paying homage to the intersecting north/south runway, as seen from the control tower. Here’s what they came up with:
Local travelers fell in love with this carpet. It became a symbol of home, and marked a direct contrast from other boring, utilitarian airports around the world. This being Portland “put a bird on it” Oregon, we decided to put a carpet on it, too. You can buy all kinds of merchandise with the PDX carpet now. Socks, t-shirts, hats, water bottles, coffee mugs…you name it. Tara and I were in Powell’s last weekend, and came across these groovy coasters.
The PDX carpet is so beloved, it has its own Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as an Instagram hashtag. Look up #pdxcarpet and you’ll see lots of photos that look like this:
I love this city, but man, I’m beginning to think “weird” isn’t a strong enough word. After all, we have a love affair with a rug. Top that, Austin.
And now, people are in mourning, because PDX has announced the beloved carpet is in need of replacement. They’ll begin tearing it up this year. But fear not, carpet lovers…they’ve come up with an updated, modern design that perfectly captures the aesthetic of the original PDX carpet while bringing it into the 21st century. This one adds additional runways, flight paths, the terminal, and even surrounding landscapes.
I like it.
And I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they are selling PDX carpet-themed socks reflecting the new design.
In the meantime, you can always settle for these.
14 thoughts on “Carpet Diem”
I have the same picture-except with my feet in it!
I remember! I found dozens of similar shots. One guy even had his pants around his ankles. No doubt TSA was all over that.
Darth Vader in a kilt on a unicycle with a bagpipe? THAT, my friend, beats anything in Austin.
That guy has achieved quite a bit of fame around town, actually!
Okay, Mark, I’m LOVIN’ that carpet (both the old and new). I think it’s so cool that Portland takes its weirdness so seriously and has pride in it! I bet I would really love the energy there. And not only because of the weirdness, but also because it looks like an absolutely gorgeous state!
Btw, I love how you added the carpet design to your blog background. CLEVER idea!
Side note: It may just be my computer but for some reason when your comments loaded, the white background (which is usually there) is absent, so it’s hard to read everyone’s comment because all I see is your new background and no white. Just thought I’d let you know.
Thanks for your input, Ron. I did not realize the background was overriding the comments section. I tried playing around with the settings but there doesn’t seem to be any way to get comments to display over a white background, so I just ditched the whole thing. Too bad – I thought it looked good!
You should come visit sometime and experience the weird energy firsthand.
Huh. I noticed the carpet when I was there but didn’t know it was worthy of so much attention and fame!
Portlanders…. carpet lovers.
You mean, you didn’t take a picture of your feet on the famous carpet?! Talk about a missed opportunity. Well, there’s always next time…
Mark, I really enjoyed this post. I love to read about the idiosyncrasies of American cities and towns. Being proud of your airport carpet is definitely different, but I do think both designs are worthy of fame.
I agree. Then again, I would totally take a detour to see the world’s largest ball of yarn, so I guess you could call me easily amused anyway.
Okay this is most certainly weird! I have never nor will I have have an obsession with a carpet. But I guess it can be fun to watch the odd thing people will splash this carpet on.
I was actually thinking it would be cool to get a tattoo of this carpet. But that begs the question: where to stop? Would the entire length of my arm be overkill?
How do you come up with these incredible titles?!!!!! You do it every time! Love the rug, Mark.
SO—–yeah, I’ve been gone a long time. I know! But we moved. It’s Ecuador. And we just got our internet TWO days ago! LONGGGGGGGG story!
I’ve missed you, my friend!
Hugs from Ecuador,
Kathy!! I was beginning to think you’d been abducted by aliens (or overzealous Ecuadorian government officials cracking down on marauding gangs of recycled art purveyors). Good to see you back. And I actually thought you might appreciate this title, too!