Portland, wanting the perfect name for its stupid, sexy new bridge, has decided to name it after The Simpsons’ god-fearing, mustache-wearing, sweater enthusiast, Ned Flanders. The city unveiled its ode to a character its website calls a “beloved cartoon optimist, left-hander, beleaguered friend of Homer Simpson, and avatar of neighborliness” last week, describing Flanders in terms far nicer than alternatives like “religious fanatic” and “busybody.”
The new Ned Flanders Crossing pedestrian and cyclist bridge crosses I-405 and was given its name in recognition of Portland’s own Matt Groening. “Despite many unofficial Simpsons-related Portland locations,” the site reads, passing along a link to some of them, “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,” it continues, “But also the creative spirit that has animated Portlanders for so long and will continue to do so long into the future.”
At the unveiling, Springfield, Oregon’s Mayor Sean VanGordon presented Portland’s Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty with a key to the City. Commissioner Hardesty gave Mayor VanGordon “a Ned Flanders Lego mini figurine and a bike bell decorated with the City Of Portland flag,” which is alright but would’ve been cooler if some limited edition Flanders Adidas sneakers and a copy of an Okilly Dokilly album were thrown in, too.
A plaque created for the bridge unveiling shows Ned waving ‘hello’ at passersby and proclaiming, of course, “Hi-diddly-ho, neighborinos!” Other than that decoration, it’s pretty much just an ordinary bridge—though it could become extraordinary if local laws required that all passing signals between cyclists and pedestrians will be reversed in order to better accommodate the left-handed.
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