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.
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.
Here's what this year will look like for PDX (and you!)
For the past year, we've built a nine-acre roof on a prefabrication lot to the northwest of the airport. The construction crews are now installing the last component—an intricate wood lattice, sourced from sustainable Northwest forests, that will eventually cover the interior ceiling.
What you'll see: If you drive along Marine Boulevard, you can glimpse the roof's dramatic swoops in the prefab lot.
Behind all those partitions in the pre-security area, construction crews have been hollowing out the back half of the main terminal. Starting in March, the exterior structure is also coming down to create a more open, spacious footprint. It may get noisy for a few months!
What you'll see: Not much, in fact. But when you’re in the ticket lobby and going through security, you may hear and feel what’s happening on the other side of those partitions. We're strategizing ways to counteract the sound, including free earplugs at the front doors and a sensory room in Concourse D.
Next, we’re erecting 34 giant steel Y-shaped columns to hold up the roof. Right now, construction crews are driving steel pilings deep into the ground to anchor these columns. Over the course of a few months, we’ll erect the Y columns one by one.
What you'll see: You probably won't notice—most are going up overnight behind the temporary walls. Late-night travelers will occasionally have to walk a few yards around an installation site.
Once the biggest section of the wood roof is fully assembled, the project team will break it back down into 20 "cassettes". During the summer and fall, Hoffman-Skanska and Mammoet will maneuver each cassette into place over the existing roof. It will take several days to place each cassette, and the work will happen overnight — depending on the section we’re placing, we may guide late-night travelers around a short detour.
What you'll see: Unless you're flying into PDX on a late-night flight, or camped out on Marine Drive at 2 a.m., you won't see much. If you walk to the ends of Concourse C or Concourse D and look back toward the main terminal, you'll catch a glimpse of the airport's new roofline.
In addition to the big projects, you’ll see a host of new amenities appear throughout the airport. A new play area in Concourse E. New art. New restaurants and cafes. (Lardo! Screen Door! Good Coffee!) You're almost guaranteed to encounter something new every time you visit the airport — and we're not talking barricades.