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Portland, Ore., airport says bye to old carpet, hello 'Carpet Diem'

Portlanders are saying au revoir to the 25-year-old airport carpet that has become an online sensation

Locals and travelers are keeping it weird at Portland International Airport (PDX) in Oregon.

They are snapping final Instagram photos of the retro 25-year-old turquoise and purple carpeting that will start disappearing at the end of January when similar-but-just-not-the-same new carpet takes over.

More than 20,000 #pdxcarpet photos have been uploaded to Instagram, usually showing people's feet, their family's feet, occasional hands and feet, you get the idea. The carpeting gets lots of Facebook and Twitter love.

For a city where Halloween trick-or-treaters dress up as the airport carpet, the transition is going to be difficult.

That's why the airport installed the art exhibition "Carpet Diem!" which hangs on a wall over gates in Concourse D. The 11-by-16-foot collage is made of -- you guessed it -- pieces of airport carpet from different locations throughout the terminal.

Artist Nancy Wilkins cleverly wove Instagram photos, socks that bear the pattern and other carpet lore into a work that will remain on display through the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, the Port of Portland, which operates the airport, hopes to finish removing and replacing 13 acres of the original carpet by Thanksgiving.

Who gets the old stuff?

"Due to logistical challenges, the Port is not making the carpet available in small amounts," a spokeswoman said in an e-mail. "However, we are offering a very limited number of 1,000-square-yard increments of the carpet to interested parties through a formal public advertisement. The expectation is that the successful respondent will sell (or provide) smaller amounts of the carpet to individuals."

Translation: If you can't live without a souvenir scrap, find the person who buys the big piece and ask for a small piece. Anyone can sign up for airport e-mail bulletins on the Port of Portland's website to identify the buyers.

Until then, feel free to join the Instagram crowd until the sea of turquoise has left the building.

Here's how Pdxcarpet on Instagram describes the carpet: "Outdated, unfashionable, and absolutely charming. Like your grandpa with a shoe fetish. Look down@ your feet, take a pic, and TAG me for a regram!"

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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