When my husband first moved to Portland, he couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that the street he lived on sounded familiar. The street? Flanders. When I explained that several Simpsons character names hail from Portland, he was surprised.
This resulted in a lengthy conversation about the Simpsons and its tie to Portland. Finally, my time to shine! But where to begin?
Who is the creator of the Simpsons?
Well, I guess we can start with the mastermind. The creator of the Simpsons grew up in the City of Roses (lucky us)!
Matt Groening was born and raised in the West Hills of Portland. He lived on Evergreen Terrace (the name of the street the Simpsons live on) with his parents Homer and Margaret and sisters Lisa, Patty and Maggie. So there’s not much guesswork involved in determining where the Simpson family names come from.
As for the well-known son, when asked why he named him Bart, Groening shared that is sounds a lot like “bark” and there was humor in having a father angrily yell out “Bart!”
Are Simpsons characters named after Portland streets (really)?
Yes! And there would have been even more Simpsons characters named after Portland streets, if Groening had more time.
In an interview, Groening shared, “I very early on named a lot of characters after streets in Portland. I thought it would be amusing for people in Portland to be driving past the alphabetically laid-out streets. There’s Flanders, Kearney, Lovejoy, mostly in Northwest Portland. My goal was to name every character after streets in Portland, but we were in a hurry so I dropped that idea.” (source)
Simpson Characters Names
Here’s a list of Simpson character names and the Portland streets they’re named after. Let’s get to the fun part!
#1. Simpson Character Name: Ned Flanders
Portland connection: NW Flanders Street
The overwhelming cheerful neighbor every Portland native would be weary of, Ned Flanders, is named after NW Flanders St (the street I lived on for 3 years!). Ned is a well-meaning (a rarity in Springfield) neighbor and best known for his extreme religiousness and giddy nature.
Ned Flanders’ catchphrase: “Howdily-doodily, neighborino!”
Here’s a fun fact for you: The City of Portland frequently replaces NE Flanders St. signs because folks add a “D” to NE to make the sign read “NED FLANDERS.”
#2. Simpson Character Name: Mayor Quimby
Portland connection: NW Quimby Street
Springfield’s Mayor may not be the most astute, but one thing is certain- he’s not going anywhere. Much like the street he’s named after — NW Quimby Street!
In the show, Mayor Quimby is a slick politician obsessed with reelection. He’s most known for his corruption and falling victim to bribes. The seal above his desk reads “Corruptus in Extremis” which translated to “corrupt in the extreme.” Telling…
Mayor Quimby’s catchphrase: “Vote Quimby!”
Did you know? Mayor Quimby’s official name is: Mayor Joseph Fitzgerald O’Malley Fitzpatrick O’Donnell The Edge Quimby, nicknamed Diamond Joe.
#3. Simpson Character Name: Reverend Lovejoy
Portland connection: NW Lovejoy Street
Ah, reliable Timothy Lovejoy Jr., better known as Reverend Lovejoy is Springfield’s minister. His name comes from NW Lovejoy Street.
Rev. Lovejoy arrived to Springfield optimistic and idealistic but shortly found himself cynical about his career choice thanks to Ned Flanders — who’s constant devision and pestering tendencies drive the Rev. mad.
Reverend Lovejoy’s catchphrase: “Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and or roll!”
#4. Simpson Character Name: Mr. Burns
Portland connection: Burnside & Montgomery Streets
Charles Montgomery Burns, better known as Mr. Burns, is named after both Montgomery Street and Burnside Street. Mr. Burns is the Simpson’s main antagonist and although frail and aging, is relentless and ruthless in his pursuits — mostly evil.
Mr. Burns’ catchphrase: “Excellent!”
#5. Simpson Character Name: Kearney ZzYzwicz
Portland connection: NW Kearney Street
Kearney is the classic class bully, but he’s unique. He’s been a classy bully longer than most people have been students. A running joke is that he keeps getting held back, which is why he looks so much older than the other kids. Kearney is named after NW Kearney Street.
Catchphrase: “First person to blink is a dead man.”
Simpsons Springfield Map
Even the layout of Springfield in the Simpsons is very similar to the layout of the city of Portland. Notice any similarities?
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If you’re interested in reading about an interview Matt Groening had where he discussed the Simpsons tie to Portland, I suggest this article!
Until next time,
What do you think?