Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, grew up in Portland on a street called Evergreen Terrace (which he would later use as the name of the street the Simpsons live on). When creating The Simpsons, he borrowed titles from select Portland landmarks to name several of his cast of goofy characters. So get those cameras ready — the following is a list of locations that provided inspiration for The Simpsons.
The Simpsons Landmarks in Portland
Lincoln High School
At this high school near downtown, you can find a familiar picture signed by a familiar name. Matt Groening drew Bart Simpson onto wet cement here and signed it with that signature Simpsons scrawl. The sketch features Bart in all his spikey-headed glory, complete with his classic attire of T-shirt and shorts. Groening added the words “Class of 1972” to memorialize his status as a Lincoln High alum. While you won’t find Mrs. Krabappel or Principal Skinner at Lincoln, Groening surely drew inspiration for Springfield Elementary here.
Burnside Street/Montgomery Park
Charles Montgomery Burns, the richest man in Springfield, was named after both historic Montgomery Park and Burnside Street. On Burnside, which runs east-west through the city, you’ll find the famous Powell’s bookstore (on the west side) and Southern brunch spot Screen Door (on the east side), among other favorites. (Unfortunately, you won’t find Burns Manor and its room of 1,000 monkeys on typewriters, crafting the greatest novel ever written.)
Ned Flanders, devout family man of Springfield, was named after Flanders Street, which runs through Northwest Portland and Northeast Portland. (In fact, at one time, some “NE” street signs featured an illegally drawn “D” to spell out “NED FLANDERS.”) Ol’ Neddy probably wouldn’t approve of that vandalism (he doesn’t even believe in insurance), but Simpsons fans were amused.
Kearney Street’s namesake is overgrown bully extraordinaire Kearney, who drives a Hyundai and pummels classmates until they lick their wounds. Visit Salt & Straw at NW 23rd Ave. and Kearney St. to lick gourmet ice cream — instead of scrapes or bruises. Just don’t smuggle out ice cream cones the way Kearney shoplifted ice cream sandwiches from the Kwik-E-Mart (in his armpits).
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The home of acclaimed directors Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes boasts many movie houses and festivals.
Droning Reverend Lovejoy got his moniker from this street in Northwest Portland. The Rev, who has a fondness for trains, would appreciate that the Portland Streetcar runs along NW Lovejoy St. Hop aboard and visit delicious local businesses Lovejoy Bakers and Jim and Patty’s Coffee People. (Note: The Patty of Jim & Patty’s is not Marge Simpson’s sister, Patty Bouvier… as far as we know.)
Hedonistic Mayor “Diamond” Joe Quimby was named after Northwest Quimby Street. Maybe one day someone will emblazon his campaign slogan (“Quimby — If you were running for mayor, he’d vote for you.” somewhere). Until then, places of interest on the street include Stepping Stone Cafe, Bull Run Distilling and Lucky Labrador Beer Hall.
Treacherously twisted criminal “Sideshow” Bob Terwilliger happens to have the same name as the treacherously twisted Terwilliger curves. This stretch of highway in Southwest Portland is considered one of Oregon’s most dangerous, so it’s a fitting name for a character whose life goal is to kill Bart Simpson.
Van Houten Avenue
The mostly residential Van Houten Avenue in North Portland shares its name with Bart’s bestie, Milhouse Van Houten. Groenig has allegedly said that this is a coincidence, but we’re not buying it. (How many Van Houtens do you know?)