Simpson's Character Honored On Portland Bridge

Photo: Ford, Brad

Ned Flanders, beloved cartoon optimist, left-hander, beleaguered friend of Homer Simpson, and avatar of neighborliness, is the new namesake for Portland’s recently-completed pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-405.

The new name and accompanying plaque were unveiled by Transportation Jo Ann Hardesty with an assist from Mayor Sean VanGordon of Springfield, Oregon and Jeff Miller, CEO of Travel Portland.

Ned Flanders and his signature call-out, “Hi-Diddly-Ho, neighborinos!” are the brainchild of Portland native and Lincoln High School graduate Matt Groening and have been featured on the groundbreaking The Simpsons TV show since its premiere in 1989.

Despite many unofficial Simpsons-related Portland locations, there has yet to be an official honor of the show and characters that have referenced our city for decades. Naming the Flanders Bridge after Ned Flanders, not only honors the cultural phenomenon that is The Simpsons, but also the creative spirit that has animated Portlanders for so long and will continue to do so long into the future.

 “It’s a wonderful day for our city,” said Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “Naming this new bridge after Ned Flanders shows that Portland can build great things and have fun too. Thank you to Matt Groening and his team for embracing this idea.”

In a show of Simpsons solidarity and good neighborliness, Mayor VanGordon presented an official gift of a “Key” to the City from the City of Springfield to Commissioner Hardesty. In return, Commissioner Hardesty presented Mayor VanGordon with a Ned Flanders Lego mini figurine and a bike bell decorated with the City of Portland flag.

Springfield, Oregon is the “real” Springfield of The Simpsons and is home to The Official Simpsons Mural and a life-size Simpsons family at the Emerald Art Center. The 15-by-30-foot mural was designed by Matt Groening and installed by the Old City Artists in 2014.

“Springfield Oregon appreciates our partnership with Matt Groening and his incredible crew and our long-term connection with The Simpsons,” said Springfield Mayor Sean VanGordon. “The Official Simpsons Mural in Downtown Springfield has brought our community years of laughter, thousands of family photos, and a host of visitors from across the globe. We hope the Ned Flanders Crossing brings a smile to the face of your wonderful neighbors and becomes a positive connection for our two cities.”

“The naming of Ned Flanders Crossing celebrates Portland’s thriving comics and animation community that resonates with many visitors,” said Jeff Miller, President and CEO of Travel Portland. “We also look forward to visitors making use of the bridge for decades to come while exploring the Pearl District and Northwest District by foot and bicycle.”

The Ned Flanders plaque is cast in bronze and features a bas relief of Ned Flanders waving next to his catchphrase “Hi-Diddly-Ho, neighborinos!”; at his elbow is Matt Groening’s signature.

Ned Flanders Crossing, which opened to the public on June 4, 2021, is 24 feet wide and stretches 200 feet across I-405. Designed for two-way pedestrian and bike traffic, the earthquake-resilient bridge also adds a seismic lifeline in the case of a major tremblor. PBOT has installed new traffic signals along NW Flanders Street, at 14th and 16th avenues, along with a four-way stop sign at 15th Avenue to make it easy for pedestrians and people biking to access the bridge from both directions.

Coupled with the Flanders Neighborhood Greenway -- a low-stress, east-west biking and pedestrian connection across Northwest Portland, the Pearl, Old Town, and into downtown Portland -- it is easier than ever to get where you need to go in Northwest Portland by walking, biking, rolling, strolling, or taking public transit.

Photo: Ford, Brad

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