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Like a fourth-grader struggling with his math homework, Scott Barrie is scratching his head over a word problem.
Here's the question: The city of Portland must put out the welcome mat for 70,704 new households by the year 2017. To do that, how many homes and apartments must be built each year?
The answer - more than 3,200 - is mathematically impossible, insists Barrie, a lobbyist for local homebuilders. "It's just not going to happen."
"The math adds up," counters Portland Planning Director David Knowles. "They just don't like the bottom number."
While seemingly esoteric, the dispute cuts to the heart of a gut-wrenching issue faced by the Metro Council - whether to expand the urban growth boundary. The council appears set on freezing the boundary or adding, at most, a few thousand …