A Year Full of Memories

Port of Portland celebrates Pride

At the Port of Portland, we certainly have a lot to be grateful for as we round out 2019. Mostly, we are thankful for the 800 people who work at the Port, the more than 10,000 people who work at PDX, and our many business and community partners who help make all the magic happen.

As we round out 2019, we’re taking the time to reflect on some of our biggest moments.

Powering Oregon’s Clean Energy

We partnered with Vestas to move about 50 wind turbine tower sections for a wind project in Eastern Oregon. Vestas, based in Portland, is the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer.

Fun fact: The shipping world calls these wind turbine parts “breakbulk,” a term used for large items unloaded piece by piece, rather than in bulk like grain or in containers like consumer goods.

Making the Region We Love Even Better


In early 2019, the Port Commission approved a new social equity plan, which features three priorities:

  1. Increase business participation from and jobs for underserved communities
  2. Create an equitable, inclusive and welcoming place to work
  3. Enhance community capacity, invite diverse perspectives and engage thought leaders

Learn how we are bringing these priorities to life.

Going Green at PDX

We rolled out a first-of-its-kind Green Plate Program at the airport. For anyone dining pre-security at PDX, order your food “for here.” Do that and you’ll get reusable plates and utensils, helping us reduce waste at the airport.

Fun fact: Our pilot project in 2017 helped reduce to-go container waste by 73 percent. We hope to see these numbers continue as we roll out the program in other areas at PDX.

PDX Gets Trail Blazer Fever

When he was 10, Roger Licorish wrote to every NBA team. The Portland Trail Blazers were the only team to respond, making him a lifelong fan. After seeing a video about his love for Rip City, the Trail Blazers flew Roger out from NYC for Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. We proudly rolled out the welcome mat to greet him at PDX.

Roger got the game of a lifetime, as he watched the Trail Blazers win in quadruple overtime. They would go on to advance to the Western Conference finals, making the entire region proud.

Fun fact: In 2015, Trail Blazers star Damion Lillard dropped a PDX carpet-themed shoe that sold out instantly.

Weighing in On Trade

Oregon is one of the most trade-dependent states in the country – exporting more than we import thanks to the high-quality goods and products we produce. As escalating tariffs threatened the region, we used our voice to advocate for policies that would provide stability for Oregon farmers and businesses. In May, Executive Director Curtis Robinhold shared why “a united front with our trading partners and historic allies” is a stronger approach to keep Oregon working than unilateral tariffs.

In September, we signed onto a letter to President Trump from leading West Coast ports – urging him to pursue a fair, mutually beneficial trade agreement with China. As we head into 2020, there is some good news. Congress is gearing up to sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and China and the U.S. appear ready to sign a new agreement.

Fun fact: From hops and hazelnuts, to berries and cherries, 40% of Oregon’s food and agriculture production leaves the country to help feed the world. That number is closer to 20% for most U.S. states.

Southwest Rings in 25 Years

On June 6, 1994, Southwest Airlines took off for the first time from PDX. We celebrated their 25th Anniversary with games and some Southwest prizes – a few lucky travelers even ended up with free tickets!

PDX is Getting Tastier

Everything gets even brighter in summer 2020 when we open the freshly expanded Concourse E, Southwest’s new home. There will be more comfortable places to sit and charge your phone or laptop. Oh, and a F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C view of Mt. Hood. Perfectly framed.

Travelers can also say hello to 7 new restaurants and retail options. Two other local favorites – Good Coffee and Screen Door (all-day brunch!) – will arrive at Concourse B in 2021. We are excited to bring more of what travelers love – the best local products and flavors mixed with recognizable regional and national brands.

During our recruitment process, we set a specific goal: grow the number of women- and minority-owned businesses at PDX. We walked through neighborhoods introducing ourselves to small businesses. We also made important adjustments to the RFP process: removing a costly requirement to submit designs for the proposed space upfront. As a result of our efforts, when these new shops and restaurants open, 26% of our airport’s concession partners will be women- and minority-owned businesses. Here’s to pushing that number even higher in the future.

Fun fact: We received 42 proposals from 30 businesses for this concessions RFP, the highest number of submissions for any concessions RFP in our history.

America’s Best Airport. Again.

Travel + Leisure magazine readers again named PDX America’s Best Airport. This is the seventh straight year we’ve received this award. We don’t take it lightly. That’s why we are always striving to bring more great food, more comfort and friendly people, and certainly more fun.

Fun fact: More than 10,000 people work or volunteer at PDX. It is truly because of their endless energy and commitment to customer service that we continue to receive honors like this.

PDX to Tokyo, Even Faster.

Credit: Delta Air Lines

Sports fans: get your team apparel ready. A new flight will bring you straight to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This year, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved Delta’s nonstop route from PDX to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The airline previously flew to Narita, located about 90 minutes from Tokyo’s central core. Haneda has better in-country connections and can get you to central Tokyo in 15 minutes.

World Cup stars who call Portland home – Lindsey Horan, Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair, to name a few – will likely feature in the Olympics. Better get those passports ready. Onward, Rose City.

Fun fact: Japan is an important trade partner for Oregon, receiving $2.2 billion in Oregon exports in 2018.

Making Plans for the Hillsboro Airport

Two exciting things happened at the Hillsboro Airport (HIO) this year. We finalized a master plan for HIO over the next 20 years and reconstructed our main runway. The runway work was overseen by Kodiak Pacific Construction. A closure that was originally scheduled for completion over three summers was completed by Kodiak in just four months this summer. Read how we assisted our tenants who were displaced by the construction.

Fun fact: During the runway work, we relocated business jet operators and nearly 20 large business jets to PDX.

New Mural Celebrates “A Place Called Home”

A new mural at PDX is helping showcase the diversity of our region while also celebrating an art style that is well established in Portland. “A Place Called Home,” located in the airport’s north pedestrian tunnel, was created in partnership with the Portland Street Art Alliance and two local street artists: Alex Chiu and Jeremy Nichols.

This mural wouldn’t have been possible without the thoughtful feedback from community partners. Throughout the design process, Alex and Jeremy consulted with Port employees, members of our PDX Airport Community Advisory Committee, and representatives from the Native American Youth and Family Center, Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Black United Fund, Urban League of Portland and Latino Network.

If your plans don’t bring you to PDX in the near future, we launched a website that highlights the places and people featured in the mural.

Fun fact: The mural is 150’ long and 10’6” height. It took nearly two months to complete.


In November, we said goodbye forever to stuffy, old Concourse A – making way for some cool changes we’re rolling out as part of PDX Next. We won’t miss A’s crowded spaces and dim lights, but travelers and Alaska and Horizon employees have some cool memories from their time spent in Concourse A. Check out #GoodbyeA on Instagram and Twitter to see how we and others said goodbye to the least loved section of PDX – from sweet engagement stories to chainsaw adventures with Timber Joey.

Fun fact: Concourse A opened in 1988. It was intended to be a temporary concourse. 31 years later, we finally said goodbye.

Weekly Container Service Returns to Portland

After a few years without steady container service, we were thrilled to announce in November that South Korea-based container carrier SM Line will bring weekly container shipping service back to Portland, creating more jobs and more opportunities for local companies to grow. Portland is getting added to SM Line’s existing rotation to the Pacific Northwest, which stops in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle. The first journey is expected to arrive in Portland in mid-January 2020.

Fun fact: The most common things to leave Oregon in containers include hay and animal feed, agricultural commodities, and wood and paper products.

New Year, Next Vacation

What better way to jump into the New Year than exploring one of our new domestic or international destinations? We have some exciting ones to celebrate in 2020.

The PDX family continues to grow with British Airways’ announcement of new nonstop service to London’s Heathrow Airport beginning June 1, 2020 – joining Delta Air Lines, which offers a seasonal nonstop flight to London. British Airways will serve PDX year-round with the airport’s first scheduled service aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

We also welcomed WestJet to PDX in 2019. In April, the new airline partner began its nonstop flight between PDX and Calgary.

Other new routes with our existing airline partners include:

  • Sun Country Airlines began flying to three new U.S. destinations in 2019: Nashville, St. Louis, and San Antonio.
  • Sun Country added an international flight as well: a seasonal nonstop flight to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on Dec. 18, 2019.
  • We already mentioned Delta Air Lines’ exciting nonstop service from PDX to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, which begins March 28.
  • On June 3, Sun Country will launch a twice-weekly nonstop service from PDX to Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Southwest plans to begin flying seasonal nonstop service from PDX to Nashville starting June 6.
  • Alaska Airlines plans to fly nonstop to San Luis Obispo, California, starting June 18.

Fun fact: Thanks to their Wine Flies Free program, Alaska travelers can check a case of wine for free from 30 West Coast cities – including San Luis Obispo.

Celebrating Our People

At the Port, we care a lot about how we do our work. That includes how we show up for one another. We are 800 people who love this region and collectively want to make it better. This year, we volunteered together. We promoted health and wellness. We celebrated our various cultures and backgrounds. And we had tons of fun. Together.

Thank you, 2019. You kept us busy.

Here’s to even more exciting things in 2020.

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