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D'oh! Groening Reveals The Location Of 'Real' Springfield

Portland native Matt Groening confirms what Oregonians have long suspected, that The Simpsons’ Springfield is the one here at home.

Homer Simpson toy holding a donut.

Rebecca Roberts Galloway / OPB

The cartoonist spoke with Claudia De La Roca in the May issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

In it, he reveals for the first time in 25 years, that the fictitious Springfield is based on Springfield, Oregon.

He told the magazine he hasn’t wanted to “ruin it” for people by revealing the location before.

Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show “Father Knows Best” took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown. 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. 

Groening spoke of his idyllic childhood in Portland in the magazine interview, saying he took it for granted while he was growing up. 

Beyond the inspiration he drew from Portland’s street names and his own family, De La Roca asked if Groening had also been inspired by a Portland sensibility:

People in Portland, and generally in the Northwest, think of themselves as independent. Oregon has no sales tax, no major military installations. Portland has turned into an incredibly friendly community with great food, great architecture, great city planning and a lot of beauty. The biggest park in the United States within the city limits is in Portland.

But he also said he was both bored and bullied in school.

Groening said one thing that had not changed is “people in Portland are in complete denial about how much it rains there.”

He lives in Los Angeles now, and told the magazine that he plans to move back to Oregon some day.

“Everything you can experience in Los Angeles, you can have a much better version of in Portland — including, very basically, the air you breathe,” he said.