Portland's Ned Flanders Crossing honors 'Simpsons' neighbor
Stupid multi-modal Flanders!
The oafish everyman Homer Simpson may not appreciate his next-door neighbor in the long-running cartoon series "The Simpsons" — but here in Portland, the famous churchgoing optimist now has a bridge to call his very own.
City leaders officially christened the new bike-and-pedestrian span across Interstate 405 the Ned Flanders Crossing during a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 9, unveiling a bronze plaque with Flanders' mustachioed visage and his catchphrase, "Hi-Diddly-Ho, neighborinos!"
"Naming this new bridge after Ned Flanders shows that Portland can build great things and have fun, too," said Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the transportation bureau.
The $9.5 million bridge, which opened to the public back in June, stretches 200 feet across I-405 between Northwest 15th and 16th avenues, creating a new earthquake-proof link between Slabtown and the Pearl District. At 24 feet wide, the span is designed for boots and bikes, but can accommodate vehicles during an emergency.
Flanders Street already has been designated as a low-traffic neighborhood greenway, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation has signalized two intersections near the bridgehead on 14th and 16th avenues, and added a four-way stop at 15th Avenue, to ease access.
"The naming of Ned Flanders Crossing celebrates Portland's thriving comics and animation community that resonates with many visitors," said Travel Portland CEO Jeff Miller. "We also look forward to visitors making use of the bridge for decades to come."
Created by Portland's own Matt Groening, "The Simpsons" features a number of characters inspired by area landmarks, including Kearney, Lovejoy and Quimby streets, as well as the Terwilliger curves and Van Houten Avenue.
And all real "Simpsons" simps know that the fictional TV show is actually set in Springfield, Oregon.
"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," said Springfield, Oregon Mayor Sean VanGordon, who was on hand for the occasion.
"Thank you to Matt Groening and his team for embracing this idea," added Commissioner Hardesty.
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