Until Tuesday, Portland, Ore., provided the most likely inspiration for the Simpsons' hometown. Many of the names of characters on the show — Flanders, Quimby, Kearney — are names of streets in Portland.
Groening visited during a tour before the 2007 film "The Simpsons Movie." Back then, tiny Springfield, Vt., beat out 13 other Springfields, including the one in Oregon, to host the movie premiere. The cities submitted videos meant to connect themselves to the fictional Springfield.
Maybe the town can use this — real leverage — to its advantage, said frozen-yogurt store co-owner Jack Kohler.
"A few years ago, the downtown had a reputation as a scary place," Kohler said. "Now, the strip joints are gone, the place is coming back. If they're smart, they'll have a 'Simpsons' month, they'll build statues so them kids can sit in, they'll have characters during the Art Walk.
"This is an opportunity to really make this place explode. If they don't do that, they blew it."
With time, Springfield, Ore., will return to its place as Oregon's ninth-largest city, a place of relative anonymity in the Willamette Valley sandwiched between the state's largest university and its biggest city.
But for a day, the creator of one of the most enduring fictional examples of Anyplace, U.S.A., let this real one stand out.
Contact Nigel Duara at http://www.twitter.com/nigelduara
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.