With a slow rip, crews started to remove the nearly 30-year-old carpet at Portland International Airport in front of PDX employees and media.
“Normally we do these ribbon cuttings when we’re introducing a new thing, but it’s actually the reverse of that in removing the old carpet,” said Vince Granato, chief operating officer of Port of Portland. “We’re going to miss the carpet and we appreciate the community and the love of this carpet.”
And do Oregonians ever love it.
The old carpet is an abstract rendering of what an air traffic controller can see from the PDX tower at night. Since the replacement announcement in 2013, the carpet has become a social media phenomenon that’s been featured on local and national media. When walking through the airport, it’s not unusual to run into plenty of people taking a picture of their feet with the now famous flooring.
The new carpet represents shapes found around the airport, such as airplane wings, runways, leaves, hiking trails and waterways. But to the untrained, out-of-towner eye, the two look very similar.
The port will recycle a majority of the carpet that’s worse for wear, but any salvageable pieces will be available for sale through local vendors some time this year. Port of Portland media relations spokesman Steve Johnson said that any interested businesses can request 1,000 square yards of the iconic carpet for retail through the Port of Portland’s website.
“There’s not one type (of business that can sell the old carpet),” said Johnson. “It’s just a vendor that can take large quantities of carpet, pick it up and warehouse it and distribute it to a large number of people. That could be a number of vendors.”
There isn’t a definite date when the carpet will be available for purchase, and the port expects workers to be busy installing the new carpet through November. A majority of the remodel will happen at night so it doesn’t disrupt travelers.