Published December 04, 2019
Quick update: We said goodbye to Concourse A in fall 2019. See what’s next for PDX here.
How much do you know about 1988? We’ve got a pub quiz to test your knowledge of some very trivial stuff. Grab a beer — or maybe a New Coke, if you still have a can — and let’s see how well you do.
First, we’ll warm up your memory muscles with a quick PDX fact: ’88 was the year that Portland said hello to Concourse A. And just like the decade of big hair and hair metal, some features of the concourse have aged better than others. Sure, we love the gate agents, who have a reputation for cracking jokes during their evening shifts. But when it comes to A’s dim lighting and crowded spaces, we’re OK with saying goodbye forever. (If you haven’t heard the news, see what's in the works at PDX.)
OK, get ready, players. Scroll on for a list of questions about the year Concourse A was (almost) cool. When you think you've figured them out, tap the questions to reveal the answers — no peeking!
8 questions from ’88
Seoul, South Korea hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics. Delta Air Lines made it possible for Pacific Northwesterners to join the 8,000-plus athletes at the games, with the launch of Delta Air Lines service from PDX to Seoul. And what sporty Portlander wouldn’t want to be there? The 1988 Olympics were the first to feature ping pong, what Willamette Week has rightly called “Portland’s ultimate cold-season sport.”
Photo Credit: Larry Koester
The Flowbee debuted in 1988 offering what the brand describes as “refreshing vacuum haircuts.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ You may recall seeing this vacuum haircut attachment in cheesy late-night infomercials, which promoted the product to what we assume is its target audience of lazy dads and college students everywhere. It continues to torment full heads of hair to this day.
Steve Jobs infamously dropped out of Portland’s Reed College in 1972, where he survived on turning in soda bottles for cash and eating free meals at a local Hare Krishna temple. Jobs, of course, went on to co-found Apple. But you may not remember NeXT, the lesser-known company he founded in the ’80s. In 1988, Jobs debuted the first high-end NeXT Computer, with a staggering starting price of $6,500, equivalent to around $14,000 when adjusted for inflation.
Photo credit: Sip Khoon Tan
“Just Do It.” Dan Wieden, the co-founder of Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, says he came up with Nike’s enduring tagline the night before a client presentation in 1988. More than three decades later, it stands out as one of the most successful branding campaigns of all time.
“The Land Before Time” brought a cast of cute dinosaurs to movie screens across the country when it debuted in November 1988 — becoming one of the 10 highest-grossing films of the year. Other blockbusters from 1988 include “Die Hard,” “Rambo III,” “Crocodile Dundee 2” and, of course, “Rain Man,” which was the year’s number-one movie and the nominee for eight Academy Awards.
ZooLights. The holiday season used to be a dark and quiet time at the Oregon Zoo. That changed in 1988 when volunteers helped build twinkly displays and staff the first-ever ZooLights event. Today ZooLights remains a favorite annual event featuring some 1.5 million lights and more cups of hot chocolate than we can count.
Photo credit: Ben Brooks
Oregon Brewers Festival. In the mid-1980s, Portland’s craft beer scene was in its infancy. Art Larrance, the founder of Portland Brewing Company, had a clever idea: Why not throw a German-style tasting event to showcase some of the state’s best craft suds? He teamed up with fewer than 20 other young-at-the-time companies—including stalwarts McMenamins and Widmer—and put on the first-ever Oregon Brewers Festival. Today it ranks among the largest and longest-running craft beer celebrations in the United States.
Koosh Balls. In 1988, engineer Scott Stillinger was granted a patent for a weird toy made of 2,000 rubber threads that he called a “Koosh ball.” It prompted a lot of people to wonder, what is a Koosh ball? Parents, especially, found themselves asking that question during that year’s holiday shopping season, when the rubbery, floppy, neon-colored toy emerged as a novelty gift sensation.
How’d you do?
Tell us how you did and share your best (or worst) memory from Concourse A on social media using the hashtag #GoodbyeA.
If you scored 8/8, you get bragging rights for knowing the most fun but totally useless facts. Got anything less than that, I guess you’re buying us the next round?
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.