Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” grew up in Portland on a street called Southwest Evergreen Terrace (which would later inspire the name of the street the Simpsons live on). When creating the show, 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 Simpson in all his spikey-headed glory, complete with his classic attire of a 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.)
Whether you’re curious about crystals, dreaming of divination decks or just seeking sweet-smelling soap, Portland’s Mystic District has the store for you.
Every summer, thousands of cyclists cruise commando through Portland streets as part of the World Naked Bike Ride.
Located in downtown Portland, the world’s smallest park is kind of a big deal. The stories of how Mill Ends Park came to be hold a big surprise for 452 square inches.
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 fans of “The Simpsons” were amused. Should you find yourself in Ned Flanders territory, check out Khao San for tempting Thai street food or Takibi for Japanese-inspired fare in a modern-yet-cozy setting. Ned Flanders Crossing — a bridge over Interstate 405, complete with a Simpsons-themed plaque — is among the city’s newest, coolest Simpsons landmarks.
Northwest Kearney Street’s namesake is overgrown bully extraordinaire Kearney, who drives a Hyundai and pummels classmates until they lick their wounds. Visit Salt & Straw, located just off Northwest Kearney Street, 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).
Droning Reverend Lovejoy got his moniker from this Northwest Portland street, another bit of inspiration for “The Simpsons” in Portland. The Rev, who has a fondness for trains, would appreciate that the Portland Streetcar runs along Northwest Lovejoy Street. Hop aboard and visit delicious local business Lovejoy Bakers.
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 Distillery 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 comedy character whose life goal is to kill Bart Simpson.
Van Houten Avenue
The mostly residential North Van Houten Avenue in North Portland shares its name with Bart’s bestie, Milhouse Van Houten. Matt Groening has allegedly said that this is a coincidence, but we’re not buying it. (How many Van Houtens do you know?)
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