For years, Portland transportation planners have been aiming to build a walking and bicycle bridge over Interstate 405 in the Pearl District. Construction is slated to begin next year.
The project has always gone by the name "Flanders Crossing," since it would extend Northwest Flanders Street across the highway. But at an Oct. 1 meeting of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association's transportation committee, co-chair Reza Farhoodi offered another idea.
"He suggested two candidates that may be worth considering: Ursula Le Guin, the author based in Northwest Portland who recently passed away, and Beatrice Morrow Cannady, one of Oregon's early civil rights advocates who spent much of her time in what became the Pearl District in the early 20th century, when it was a thriving African American neighborhood," meeting minutes say.
Other committee members suggested a name change could be confusing—and that it might be better to contact cartoonist Matt Groening and ask to name the bridge after Simpsons do-gooder Ned Flanders.
One problem: People weren't sure how to reach Groening.
"There is a lack of consensus around this proposal," the meeting minutes observe, "and Reza expressed reticence about a Simpsons-themed name unless there was a sponsorship opportunity using external funding."