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  Oregon famous again by the name, 'Springfield' in The Simpsons?   In 2012, Groening, a Portland-native, did say that Springfield, OR was indeed the setting of the Simpsons  


Story by Yi Lin - The Oregon Herald
Published on Wednesday April 21, 2021 - 1:03 PM

 
OREGON - Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed the location of the real Springfield: It's in Oregon.

In an interview with Smithsonian magazine, posted online Tuesday, Groening credits the name to the hit TV show Father Knows Best.

The show "took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown," he says. "When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do."

The topic of Springfield's real location has much discussion among fans of the show, which has been on the air for more than 20 years.

"I don't want to ruin it for people, you know?" Groening says. "Whenever people say it's Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go, 'Yup, that's right.'"

But The Associated Press says Groening said he has long given fake answers about the Simpsons' hometown, leaving open the possibility the revelation to Smithsonian magazine itself is fake.

According to the AP:

"The show has made a running joke of hiding the true Springfield's location. In one episode, daughter Lisa points to Springfield on a map, but the animated "camera view" is blocked by son Bart's head."

But there should have been plenty of clues that the characters on the Simpsons were drawn from Groening's own childhood.

The names of many characters on the show — Flanders, Kearney, Lovejoy — correspond to street names in Portland, Ore. Indeed, Groening says his goal was to "name every character after streets in Portland, but we were in a hurry so I dropped the idea."

Another clue: The Simpsons live on Evergreen Terrace – also the name of the street the Groenings lived on. And, of course, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie are named after Groening's parents and sisters, respectively.

The town of Springfield, Ore., had already claimed the show as its own. When Niel Laudati, the community relations manager for Springfield, Ore., was told about Groening's announcement, he told the AP: "Oh, OK, we knew that."

The town's Facebook page features a signed plaque from Groening when he visited the town before The Simpsons Movie was released in 2007.

"Yo to Springfield Oregon – The Real Springfield!" the plaque reads. It's signed: "Your pal, Matt Groening proud Oregonian! 2007."

No clues yet as to the location of Shelbyville.

BACKGROUND

Springfield

Springfield is a fictional town in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, which serves as its main setting. A mid-sized town in an undetermined state of the United States, Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. The geography of the town and its surroundings are flexible, changing to address whatever an episode's plot calls for.

Springfield's location is almost impossible to determine, and the show is deliberately evasive on the subject, providing contradictory clues and information about its location. Fans have determined that Springfield is based in Springfield, Oregon.

Creation

Springfield is intended to represent "Anytown, USA" and not be a specific real town, although the producers acknowledge basing the town on numerous locations including The Simpsons creator Matt Groening's hometown of Portland, Oregon, and Mike Scully's hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts. Groening named Springfield after Springfield, Oregon, and also took inspiration from Springfield being the fictitious setting of the series Father Knows Best. He said, "I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do". Groening did not intend to place the fictional Springfield in Oregon, contrary to a 2012 report in Smithsonian magazine. Al Jean said that the magazine "misinterpreted something I've heard him say for at least 10 or 20 years. He was inspired by growing up in Portland, but it's really every town". Groening liked Second City Television's use of Melville, a town with a large cast of recurring characters that serves as a mini-universe for the show, and partially based The Simpsons on it.

Location

"The true location of Springfield is in any state but yours" —Chalkboard gag, "Beware My Cheating, Bart" Because of the many contradictory statements regarding Springfield, the town can't exist in a specific state. In The Simpsons Movie, Ned Flanders tells Bart that the state where Springfield is located is bordered by the states of Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky – of which only Ohio and Kentucky are real neighbouring states, Nevada and Maine being at opposite sides of the US. The city's unknown and unknowable geography is a recurring joke in the series; the Dayton Daily News called it the "riddle wrapped in an enigma that is Springfield's location", but Lisa Simpson states that "it's a bit of a mystery, yes. But if you look at the clues, you can figure it out." The 2012 episode "Beware My Cheating Bart" states in the chalkboard gag, "The true location of Springfield is in any state but yours". Episodes frequently make fun of the fact that Springfield's state is unidentifiable by adding further conflicting descriptions, obscuring onscreen map representations, and interrupting conversational references.

David Silverman, who directed the movie and various episodes of the series, joked that Springfield is located in the fictional state of "North Takoma". This is substantiated by the state abbreviations NT and TA used within the show. The telephone area codes for Springfield are 636 and 939.

To promote The Simpsons Movie, various actual towns and cities across the U.S. called Springfield competed to hold the premiere. The town of Springfield, Vermont, was chosen. In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "of all the Springfields in America, is most popular in Springfields in Virginia, Minnesota and New Jersey, and least popular in Springfields in Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia".

In a 2012 interview, Matt Groening stated that he had named the Simpsons' hometown Springfield because when he watched the 1950s sitcom Father Knows Best as a child, he believed the fictional Springfield in that show was Springfield, Oregon, near Groening's hometown of Portland. He adopted the same name for his shows set in the hope that "everyone will think it's their Springfield".

In the 2020 episode "The Road to Cincinnati" when Principal Skinner drives Superintendent Chalmers from Springfield to Cincinnati, Ohio, a sign along the route says Cincinnati is 800 miles away, then the two pass through Missouri before encountering another sign saying Cincinnati is 400 miles away.

Fictional history

Springfield was founded in 1800 on January 30th by a group led by Jebediah Springfield who, after misinterpreting a passage in the Bible, left Maryland trying to find "New Sodom." After he refused to found a town where men were free to marry their cousins, half of the group left. The dissenters founded the nearby town of Shelbyville, after fellow pioneer Shelbyville Manhattan, and the two cities remain rivals for centuries. Springfield reached its pinnacle in the mid-20th century when it became the home of the world's first Aqua car factory; one half of the U.S. was said to wear Springfield goloshes and Springfield's streets were literally paved with gold. The town's prosperity faded; a Time cover story on Springfield was titled "America's Worst City", and Newsweek called the town "America's Crud Bucket".

Topography

Springfield's geography is varied, including forests, meadows, mountain ranges, a desert, a gorge, a glacier, beaches, badlands, canyons, swamps, a harbour, waterholes, and waterways. Major named geographical features include Springfield Gorge, Springfield National Forest, the volcanic Mt. Springfield, the West Springfield Desert, the Springfield Badlands, the gigantic Murderhorn Mountain, Springfield Glacier, Mt. Useful National Park, Springfield Mesa, Springfield Monument Park, and Springfield National Park.

The town's climate is usually dry and sunny, with a bright blue sky. However, it has been subject to many natural disasters, including heatwaves, blizzards, avalanches, earthquakes, acid rain, floods, hurricanes, lightning strikes, tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions.

Springfield's environment is unusually polluted. Overflowing garbage forced the whole town – both population and structures — to move five miles away from the massive dump that the old town of Springfield had become. Springfield is also, unfortunately, home to the state's largest self-sustaining tire fire, which has been burning continuously for many decades. Lake Springfield's pollution almost led to the town's destruction by an Environmental Protection Agency bomb, and pollution from the nuclear power plant has mutated the fish in the river, with the Nuclear Power Plant's mascot being Blinky, an orange-coloured fish with three eyes. Its atmosphere is so polluted that it reduced a comet to a tiny rock the size of a chihuahua's head.

Springfield features a large numbered grid plan, ranging from streets at least as low as 3rd Street and at least as high as 257th Street.

Politics, religion, and media

In politics, the mayor of Springfield is Joe Quimby, while the town's representative in Congress is Herschel "Krusty the Clown" Krustofsky of the 24th congressional district. In "Sideshow Bob Roberts", Sideshow Bob ran for Mayor of Springfield and defeated Mayor Quimby, but was later discovered to have committed pure electoral fraud. Previous representatives include Horace Wilcox, who died of a heart attack while in office, and Bob Arnold, who is forced to resign after Lisa exposes his corruption. Mary Bailey is the governor of Springfield's state. The town is infamous for its corruption. Mayor Quimby: a sleazy, womanizing politician is known for his stupidity. During the MENSA tenure, Mayor Quimby is confronted by Lisa Simpson after a group of drunks steal their Gazebo for a Shakespeare play. Thinking he is exposed for his corruption, he flees for a while and the MENSA chapter runs Springfield. Other corrupt parties include the Police Force.

Religious houses of worship include Congregation Beth Springfield, the First Church of Springfield, the First AME Church, the Cathedral of the Downtown, and a Buddhist vihara.

KBBL Broadcasting Inc. is the major media outlet, owning at least three radio stations and one television station. Channel 6 of KBBL, the most-watched channel by far, airs The Krusty the Clown Show and Kent Brockman's nightly news broadcast. The Springfield Shopper is a town newspaper, although it mainly prints tabloid-like newspapers and thus, in the episode "Three Gays of the Condo", it is stated that the headlines are "all a joke" and that most other people read the New York Times. However, the New York Times has never been mentioned since.

Neighbourhoods and attractions

The town is divided into many neighbourhoods, including Rats Nest, Bum Town, Chinatown, Crackton, East Springfield, Greek Town, Russian Town, Junkyville, Little Bangkok, Little Ethiopia, Little Italy, Little Newark, Little Stockholm, Little Seattle, Little Ukraine, Ethnictown, the Jewish Lower East Side, Kelly Terrace, Pressboard Estates, Recluse Ranch Estates, Skid Row, Springfield Harbor, Springfield Heights, Hyperion Drive, Springshire, Tibet Town, Waverly Hills, the borough of Brooklyn, the Lincoln Park Village Housing Project, the Flammable District, a gay district and a fast-food district.

Springfield boasts an opera house, an outdoor amphitheatre, an arboretum, and a vibrant jazz scene, and was previously regarded as the entertainment capital of its state.

Transportation

For transportation, Springfield has an international airport, is served by a railroad, and has both an abandoned subway system, a public transit system, and an unsuccessful monorail line, as well as an escalator to nowhere.

Sports

The town is home to the Springfield Isotopes, an AA minor league baseball team that plays its home games at Duff Stadium; the Springfield Atoms football team at Springfield Stadium; the NBA's Springfield Excitement; and the Springfield Ice-O-Topes hockey team at the Springfield Arena.