The bidding process for Portland’s beloved airport carpet closed Thursday afternoon, with 32 eager contestants hoping for a piece of Oregon’s history – a very large piece of history. The Port of Portland auctioned off four 1,000-square-yard lots of the old carpet.
Winning bidders will be chosen in March based on the Port’s goal “to get [the carpet] out to people in the community who want to own a piece of PDX history,” Port spokeswoman Kama Simonds told The Oregonian.
“I hope that it’s opened the door to some really creative thinking,” Simonds said.
Owner of Willamette Aviation Service, David Waggoner, hopes to win one of the 100 pound carpet rolls for the Aurora State Airport.
“That carpet has got such a rich aviation history within the state of Oregon, we want to continue to make sure that that history is maintained,” Waggoner said.
Waggoner plans to to use some of the carpet for educational and community spaces at the airport, while auctioning the rest as doormats to fund scholarships for aspiring pilots.
The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette was another eager bidder, hoping to use the carpet to raise funds for the organization’s anti-poverty initiative.
“We wanted to have an incentive to engage new donors in our work, and we thought we could do that by creating a fun product with the PDX carpet,” said Marcie Willms, the nonprofit’s communications director. “We are thinking about creating doormats with the carpet so people can take their own personal photos of their feet on the carpet when they come home.”
Why the bidding process instead of simply selling the carpet to fund altruistic causes? “We had not trademarked or copyrighted the carpet,” Simonds explained. “We’re not in the position to be the middle person or middle agency to distribute squares of the carpet.”
“It’s not lovely carpet,” Simonds said. “It has more sentimental value than monetary value.”
The carpet replacement began Jan. 23. The removal and reinstallation of approximately 10 football fields’ worth of carpet is estimated to take the remainder of the year.