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Portland-Inspired Simpsons Character Names

Portland-Inspired Simpsons Character Names

If you’ve ever driven through Portland, you might have caught wind of a peculiar coincidence. 

Namely, why do so many Portland streets have names similar to Simpsons characters – Lovejoy, Flanders, and more?

A lot of Portland streets have the same names as Simpsons characters because The Simpsons creator, Matt Groening, was raised in Portland, Oregon! 

When he made The Simpsons, he named several of his characters after Portland landmarks. Groening simply thought it would be amusing to name them after streets in his hometown.

Where did Matt Groening grow up in Portland?

Matt Groening grew up on a street called Evergreen Terrace (the name of the street where the Simpsons reside).

In SW Portland, he attended Lincoln High and Ainsworth Elementary, which was the foundation of his early learning years.  He was teased for reading too much and was reprimanded for drawing in class (sounds like an omen!).

Of course, that was long before anyone knew he would create one of the biggest cultural icons of our time.

Simpsons Characters and the Portland Streets That Inspired Them

1. Ned Flanders | Northwest Flanders Street

Ned Flanders, the Simpsons’ devout, cheerful, and super-churchy neighbor, was named after Northeast Flanders Street in Northeast Portland.  

If you look around here, you’ll see some vandalism on the street signs, on occasion. 

For instance, the city of Portland had to replace several “NE FLANDERS” signs after someone spray-painted a “D” after the signs’ “NE.” Ned probably wouldn’t approve, but Simpsons fans were amused.

2. Mayor Quimby | Northwest Quimby Street

This street is the official inspiration for Springfield’s corrupt, philandering Mayor “Diamond” Joe Quimby, who shares the honor of being named after Northwest Quimby Street with another famous literary character from the Beverly Cleary novels set in Portland, Ramona Quimby.

Mayor Quimby is a clever politician obsessed with re-elections in the show, and his catchphrase is “Vote Quimby!” 

Perhaps one day, his campaign slogan (“Quimby—If you were running for mayor, he’d vote for you”), will be imprinted somewhere in the street.

A fun fact, by the way: the street was named after L.P.W. Quimby, an early hotel owner in Portland. L.P.W. Quimby was never a mayor, though.

3. Kearney Zzyzwicz | Northwest Kearney Street

Kearney, one of the show’s classic schoolyard bullies, gets his name from Portland’s Northwest Kearney Street. 

In the show, he’s been a class bully for longer than most people have been students. Kearney is the type of bully who drives a Hyundai and pummels classmates until they lick their bleeding wounds.

Instead of scrapes or bruises, you can lick some gourmet ice cream at Salt & Straw on NW Kearney St. Just don’t blink while getting your ice cream, or Kearney will call you out with his catchphrase, “First person to blink is a dead man!”

4. Reverend Lovejoy | Northwest Lovejoy Street

It’s difficult to imagine what the overly serious Rev. Timothy Lovejoy would think of his name being given to a street. But whether he believes it or not, NW Lovejoy Street inspired his name, which is named after Portland co-founder Asa Lovejoy.

The fact that the Portland Streetcar runs along this street is something we know the reverend will appreciate. Rev. Lovejoy enjoys trains and can be seen with his model trains in several episodes.

Speaking of the reverend’s name, his first name, Timothy, means “Honored by God.”

5. Charles Montgomery Burns | Burnside Street/Montgomery Park

Charles Montgomery Burns, Springfield’s richest man and the show’s main antagonist, was named after both of the city’s historic landmarks. 

The Montgomery Burns is a hybrid of two Portland landmarks: Burnside Street, which divides the city’s northern and southern quadrants, and Montgomery Park, a former Montgomery Ward headquarters and current office building. 

Another parallel: the Trojan-esque cooling towers of the Springfield Nuclear Plant glow at night too, much like the Montgomery Park sign. Worth a look if you haven’t seen it before.

Actually, Charles’ full name is Charles Montgomery Plantagenet Schicklgruber Burns. His middle name, Schicklgruber, was Adolf Hitler’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name, while Plantagenet was the family name of a branch of the British Royal family in the 1300s.

6. Robert Terwilliger | Terwilliger Curves

The treacherously twisted criminal Robert “Sideshow” Bob Terwilliger happens to have the same name as the treacherously twisted Terwilliger curves. 

This comprises less than two miles (3.2 km) of I-5 between the Willamette River and the ledges of Southwest Portland and is named as such because of its physical characteristics and proximity to Terwilliger Boulevard. 

This road’s reputation as one of Oregon’s most hazardous makes it a fitting name for a character whose life’s mission is to murder Bart Simpson! Definitely not the most ideal place to break a sweat during your morning jogs. 

Fun fact: many fans believe Bob was named after Dr. Terwilliker from Dr. Seuss’s film The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. However, Groening confirmed that the character is named after Terwilliger curves.

Robert Terwilliger

7. Milhouse Van Houten | North Van Houten Avenue

Milhouse Van Houten is Bart’s sort of best friend, in case you forgot. In North Portland, the mostly residential Van Houten Avenue shares its name with Bart’s bestie. 

Groening has insisted that this is just a coincidence. But who can say?

Milhouse was also named after US President Richard Nixon, who had the middle name Milhous. Groening, on the other hand, thought it was the most unfortunate name he could think of for a child.

Other Places to See in Portland as a Simpsons Fan

Aside from Simpsons character names being inspired by Portland street names, there are still landmarks in the city where you can experience the Simpsons vibe and visit if you are an avid fan.

SW Evergreen Terrace

We mentioned this place earlier. It’s Matt Groening’s childhood home in the West Hills, where he grew up with his parents, Homer and Margaret, as well as his three siblings, Lisa, Patty, and Maggie. 

By the way, the Groenings no longer live there, so please do not knock and ask for Bart!

In the show, 742 Evergreen Terrace in Springfield is the main location and address of the Simpson family. It’s a fictitious town created by Matt Groening, however, the address of the house was inconsistent (particularly in the older seasons of the show).

Lincoln High School

This is another Simpson’s Landmark in Portland and is situated southwest of Salmon Street on 18th Avenue, is where Groening finished his secondary education. You can find a familiar Simpsons character there that was signed by him.

Outside of the school, Matt Groening drew Bart Simpson and signed it with the distinctive Simpsons scrawl. The cartoon shows Bart sporting his trademark spiked hair and wearing his go-to T-shirt and shorts. 

Groening’s status as an alumnus of Lincoln High is memorialized by the words “Class of 1972” next to the sketch. Obviously, the setting served as an inspiration for Springfield Elementary in the show.

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