The Future is Looking up at PDX

November 20, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By Cass Jacoby. 

Planes flying overhead isn’t the only reason visitors at Portland international Airport are looking up. Soon, it will be the nine-acre wooden roof undulating above travelers. 

Portland Airport is getting a new wood roof! The project, which is expected to be installed by 2024, will replace the airport's aging metal roof with a nine-acre wooden roof made up of mass timber components. The new roof will cover the airport’s expanded terminal and will be made of sustainably sourced wood so as to reduce the airport's carbon footprint. 

The roof is inspired by and pays tribute to one the most iconic products of the Pacific Northwest: timber. According to, all of the roof’s wood has been sustainably sourced from Oregon and Washington. More than 40 local partners from small family forests and mills, tribal nations and community forests came together to supply the wood. In fact, some of the wood on the roof was harvested to reduce the impact of wildfires in the region. 

The warm tones of wood and the wooden latticework ceiling evokes the dappled light of the forest. With the soft curves of the structure waving its way overhead, the new roof will feel organic. 

“I think anybody who has been for a hike around here knows that you can get into these lush forests. You look up, you see these wood canopies and you see the light coming through the trees,” Kama Simonds, a Port of Portland spokesperson tells KGW8. “That was really the inspiration behind the wood roof. You look up there’s lots of skylights designed to bring in a lot of natural light into the space and then obviously to see the beauty of the wood that is the roof.” reports that the wooden roof is part of a $1.5 billion capital improvement project at PDX Next project, that includes adding nine gates and expanding the security area and concourses. The whole project has been taking place at night after the last flight leaves the airport. 

Construction has been underway for the past few years, and now crews are starting to bring it all together one section at a time. Crews will now move individual sections of the 392,00 square-foot roof about a mile across the airfield to the construction site. The project is set to be completed in 2025, when it will officially give the planes soaring overhead competition for most awe-inspiring thing in the sky. 

Have a question? AskARoofer.   

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About Cass  

Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop, AskARoofer and MetalCoffeeShop. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is putting her Master degree to work writing about movies and dancing with her plants.    

Photo credit: Kate Davidson / OPB 

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