Portland, OR

Monday in Portland: Air quality improving after hazy weekend, fall photo competition is back

Emily Scarvie

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(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Monday, Sept. 12 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Air quality expected to improve after wildfires cause hazy skies over the weekend

Much of Oregon, including the Portland metro area, saw hazy skies over the weekend due to wildfires burning across the region, but air quality is expected to improve this week. As of Monday, air quality in Portland is in the “moderate” level, meaning people should shorten the amount of time they spend outside.

“We’re going to probably stay in the moderate range,” Harry Esteve, with the Department of Environmental Quality, told KGW. “There could be some improvements if the wind shifts, but it’s all dependent on the weather and the weather can change, and smoke conditions can change.”

Anyone interested in checking the air quality in their neighborhood can search by zip code, city or state online.

2. Nigerian nationals accused of attempted $2.9M fraud of Portland Public Schools remain fugitives

Two Nigerian nationals, who remain fugitives, are accused of attempting to defraud roughly $25 million from hospitals, schools and universities across the United States, including around $2.9 million from Portland Public Schools. The defendants, Efeturi Ariawhorai, also known as Efeturi Simeon, and Ikenna Nwajiaku have each been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

PPS district officials said the attempted theft from the district occurred when someone posing as one of their construction contractors tricked employees into green-lighting a $2.9 million payment. The scam was caught while the millions were still in the fraudsters bank account, and the district said the money would be returned to them within days.

Other victims included school districts in California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Texas. The FBI has been able to recover a majority of the stolen money and freeze funds, according to Kieran L. Ramsey, special agent in charge of Oregon’s FBI.

3. Submissions open for Portland's fall photo competition

Submissions are now open for the Portland Business Alliance’s fall season competition. “Falling Back in Love with Downtown Portland: Artists Takeover” is back, and anyone who wants to participate has until Sept. 25 to take or share a photo of their own that captures the essence of downtown Portland in the fall.

Judges will pick their favorites, which will be displayed in Gallery Go Go at Pioneer Place throughout October. The overall crowd favorite will win $500. Those chosen for the gallery will also have the opportunity to sell their photos. To enter the competition, visit Gallery Go Go’s website.

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