PDX comic: An everyday adventure through construction detours

Published June 02, 2021

The next time you head to PDX, things will look a little different. Temporary walls have closed off parts of the main terminal, and we've installed detours to help you get around the construction that's underway. It might take you a second to get your bearings.

There's, of course, a lot to look forward to. We're especially excited about the new airport designs, which are inspired by the Pacific Northwest's lush landscapes. We think it'll be worth the wait. 

But in the meantime, getting used to all these changes might be a bit irritating — especially if you have a comfortable books-then-doughnuts routine. That's the setup to the latest comic from Oregon-based artist Aki Ruiz, who teamed up with writer JD Shadel to tell the story of a few travelers making their way through PDX in the not-so-distant future. Scroll on to see how our duo discovers what magic is happening behind the scenes.


An illustrated comic shows a person named Ash at a ticket kiosk, with their service dog, Poppy, sitting beside them. The caption reads “PDX, in the not so distant future.” Poppy the dog narrates, “It had been some time since my human and I had last visited this place. I could already smell change in the air.”

Ash and Poppy stand in front of a temporary construction wall that’s closed off parts of the main terminal. Ash says, “Huh? I guess that’s goodbye to our books and doughnut routine, Poppy.” Poppy the dog narrates, “Usually, my human and I go to the book place before we go see the people who borrow their shoes, but today was different.”

While they’re waiting to go through airport security, an elderly woman talks to Ash: “Oh dear, I miss those doughnuts, too. But on the bright side, they’re making this place more spacious and even easier to get around. Did you hear about the new roof?” Poppy narrates, “The lady behind us told us a long story about how the old roof was made in the 1950s, the age of my great great great grandfather, Colonel Woof II.”

Ash talks to the barista at the coffee shop: “Gabriel, good seeing you again! What’s all this about a new roof?” Gabriel replies, “Have you seen what it’s going to look like yet? They’re giving it the full Pacific Northwest treatment — sustainable, locally sourced wood and lots of leafy plants everywhere. Come 2025 this place is going to feel like a literal walk in the park.”

“See you next time! Take care,” Ash says as they walk in the wrong direction. They turn around and walk in the right direction. “Uh, right! There’s a detour to get around the construction. I knew that,” Ash says. Poppy narrates, “We had to walk through a new-smelling tunnel to get to our usual waiting place.”

Ash and Poppy walk through a series of tunnels before arriving at their gate. “Now let’s see what all those detours were for,” says Ash, who sits with Poppy and reads about the new airport designs on their phone. Poppy narrates, “My human told me about how they’re building the new roof in big pieces called ‘cassettes,’ which got me wondering…”

Poppy imagines giant audio cassette tapes being inserted into the airport’s roof with cranes. “Giant wooden cassettes? For a roof?” Poppy asks.

Ash continues reading on their phone. “Oh, it says they’re working with local tribes to supply some of the timber for the roof, and the design was inspired by local weaving traditions.” Poppy imagines giant hands weaving a roof that looks like a basket. “That seems like a lot of work,” Poppy says.

Ash says, “Looks like there will be lots of things to explore in 2025, Poppy.” Poppy narrates, “I’ll miss our old routine, but there’s a lot to look forward to. And besides…”

Poppy imagines the newly completed airport, filled with real trees like a park. “I can’t wait to help find our new book and doughnut place,” Poppy says.

Quick tip for travelers with service animals

Do you have plans to travel with a  service dog or  pet? We know that it comes with a few extra challenges. (In fact, the creators of the illustrated story above consulted with several guide dog trainers to make sure it reflected the real relationships between travelers and their helpers.) With that in mind, we’re here to confirm that we have two new indoor pet relief areas at PDX: one on Concourse C near gate C4 and one on Concourse D near gate D4. We also have two new outdoor pet relief areas located at the north and south ends of the lower roadway (arrivals level).  

For the latest travel updates, go to the construction info hub on FlyPDX.com, where you’ll find the practical updates you need for your next trip. And visit  FlyPDX.com/Accessibility  for a comprehensive list of accessibility resources.